A striking private home on the Isle of Man’s craggy coastline
When we were commissioned to design a new house on the Isle of Man’s rocky Scarlett Peninsula, our response was to create a contemporary response to the stark and austere traditional Manx cottages present on the Isle of Man.
Seafield House is an ensemble of new buildings — including a garage and pool house – defining a walled garden between them on a modest estate with an existing residence. The new house contains two discrete open-plan apartments – one on each of ground and first floors.
Emerging from the existing perimeter wall, the new house’s cuboid form tapers into an asymmetric pitched roof that leans into winds coming off the Irish Sea. Standing at the highest point of the site, its roof profile was considered from a number of vantage points to create a strong figure in the landscape.
The first-floor guest apartment benefits from a double-height living space that follows the roof form up to a skylight, while opening onto a south-facing balcony with panoramic views across fields to the nearby rocky coast. Guests enter via this balcony from a stair accessed through an opening in the wall to the rear of the building, connected along a stone path to the main house, where they would spend most of their time. In contrast, the ground floor apartment feels nestled within the existing boundary wall, with the balcony above forming a sheltered colonnade to a patio and glazed entrance doors. Locating the stair and balcony in this way affords privacy to both apartments, so that the house’s garden and parking area can be used exclusively by the ground floor residents.
The new buildings are clad in local Castletown Stone to match the existing walls and laid in the traditional method by Manx craftsmen. Crisp, pale, contemporary precast concrete window surrounds are incised into them. These are matched by cast-in-place concrete elements such as the balcony, conceived as a piece of external furniture with slender supports like table legs. Where flush with the envelope, they appear like veins in the stonework, embodying the synthesis of old and new.
- Isle of Man
- Project type
- Private houses
- Completed 2012
- Floor area