The Black Rubber Beach House on Dungeness Beach near Kent is a unique home that makes use of low-cost materials in an innovative way. The original plan involved renovating an old fisherman's hut, but the existing structure was so run-down that the project evolved into a new construction. Simon Condor Associates handled the design and renovation, which was inspired by the local vernacular and makes use of sustainably harvested wood and a natural rubber exterior that shields from the rain and absorbs heat in the winter.
Many of the houses in and around Dungeness Beach were slowly expanded upon over the years and the vernacular involves a lot of improvisation. To stay in that style and spirit, Simon Condor Associates designed the new home to play off that feeling while also responding to the surrounding landscape and taking advantage of the views. While originally intended as a renovation, the 1930s structure’s skeleton was found to be too weak and many boards had to be replaced to improve integrity. Wise-Spruce hardwood, which came from responsibly managed forests in Finland, was used to clad the interior and exterior.
The compact home has only one bedroom and bath, but maximizes living space with a large deck and sliding glass doors that open to the outdoors. Guests are invited to stay in an Airstream trailer next to the house. The exterior is then clad with EPDM (ethylene propylene diene monomer) rubber waterproofing, which is water resistant and can withstand extreme cold and hot temperatures. The material is resistant to ozone and UV, is fireproof and does not pollute rainwater runoff. In the winters the material soaks up the heat and helps warm the home with minimal extra energy. In the summer, cross ventilation provides ample cooling potential despite the black exterior.
Images ©Simon Condor Associates