From British studio Simon Conder Associates is a timber-clad house built around a nineteenth-century railway carriage on Dungeness beach in Kent, England. Simon Conder Associates designed El Ray beach house as the summer home for a family, who had previously lived in just the old carriage. "We were asked by our clients to increase the accommodation area by approximately 50 percent and dramatically improve the environmental performance of the house," said Simon Conder. Completed in 2008, the house is located between two other shacks near the Dungeness power station. It features a bell-shaped plan, incorporating a sheltered front terrace and a pair of recessed courtyards that are protected from the prevailing winds.
The railway carriage is contained at the centre of house and accommodates a kitchen within its worn shell. A living room surrounds and opens out to all three terraces. Different tones give a striped pattern to the hardwood exterior cladding. There are also ramps leading into the house from the surface of the beach. A flat sloping roof acts as an observation deck with sweeping 360-degree views of the surrounding beach and ocean. The walls, roof and floor are insulated using recycled newspaper, meaning very little energy is needed for heating, lights and ventilation. In extremely cold weather, electric heating is powered by a rooftop wind turbine to heat beneath the floorboards in the two bedrooms and bathroom. Photographs by Paul Smoothy