Lifelong residents of the East Sussex coast have commissioned a holiday cottage to introduce visitors to the area’s ecological biodiversity and help preserve the landscape.
They commissioned RIBA award-winners Michael Kendrick Architects to design Looking Glass Lodge within a natural clearing in the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The architects responded with an understated block clad in western red cedar that disappears into the woodland. The two long sides of the rectangular volume are taken up by banks of self-tinting electrochromic glass that control climate and reduce the impact of artificial light from within, protecting the local bat population. Yet they still afford wide outlooks up and down the natural slope.
During the building process, workers removed invasive plants and added feeders for the wildlife. They took care to build low-impact foundations that don’t impinge on tree roots and animal habitats. The build was completed last autumn.
The interior is largely open-plan, defined by an imposing kitchen island and wood-burning stove that burns fallen timber from the property. Built-in furnishings were constructed by Sussex craftsmen using local birch ply. They sit against an interior envelope in western red cedar. During their stay, visitors can shop from local food and drink-makers and craftspeople recommended by the owners.
Looking Glass Lodge is available to rent through July 2024.