Location: Norfolk, UK
Date: 2012
Client: Private
Status: Concept Design
Size: 3sqm
Credits: ACME: Friedrich Ludewig, Nicholas Channon
Hunsett Mill is an isolated house in the Norfolk Broads, the UK’s largest nationally protected wetland. Surrounded by water, the garden is a small dry island in a large swampy forest. Because of its importance and sensitivity, it is forbidden to construct permanent structures here, so we developed a scheme for a non-permanent structure, a timber towerhide for children to play in the summer. The towerhide explores how the simple and inexpensive stacking of standard-sized timber battens can make a sculptural and inhabitable gesture sitting within the landscape. The density and spacing of the timber battens decrease towards the top of the structure, thereby increasing porosity and permeability.
There is an opening at the ground level and an internal spiral staircase extends from the twisting façades. On the first floor, there is built-in seating and a carved wooden slide back down to the ground. On the second floor, there are more seats and a zip-line platform into the deeper forest. The structure is protected from the Norfolk rain by a polycarbonate roof integrated in the top three layers of timber battens.
The structure has been parametrically optimised to consist solely of three widths of timber batten, varying in 200 mm incremental lengths. Different stains are used in each axis, creating a changing visual appearance as the towerhide is circled.