Analog Boathouse

PrizeHonorable Mention in Architectural Design /
Firm LocationLondon, United Kingdom
CompanyMerrett Houmøller Architects
Lead ArchitectRobert Houmøller
Design Team Peter Merrett Jack Boyle
Project Videohttp://

The brief was for a building that inhabits the landscape as a piece of sculpture. It was to be analogue, not digital. Natural, not synthetic. Mechanical, not electrical. Matte, not gloss. Not fussy. Comfortable, not luxurious. Solid. When using the boathouse, it needs to be woken up: pull the shutters back, not by pressing a button, but by pushing them, touching the shutters with your hands, feeling their texture. The building is based on a number of layers, or thresholds between the inside and the lake. It is not inhabited every day, and is ‘packed away’ when not in use: large shutter doors close to create a monolithic form. When in use, the shutters open up to reveal the warm timber belly of the building. Glass sliding doors slide back to open out directly onto the lake. The building is constructed using SIPS, and is clad in open burned larch slats with a black UV Stable breather membrane behind. The cladding runs over all windows, and the shutter doors match the cladding so that the building reads as a single burned block element when closed. The slatted shutter doors act as a solar screen as well. Internally, the walls are lined in furniture grade birch ply, the smoothness of which contrasts with the rough exterior. The oor is a polished concrete screed. The wet dock (where boats are moored) is lined in marine ply, with a more hard wearing nish, to re ect it’s use. The articulated nature of the cladding allows it to change appearance throughout the day as shadows form and move across it. It is be matte, slightly uneven, rough, and is allowed to weather. It is textured, like the landscape around it.