Standing up to coastal conditions

When it comes to designing a bespoke residential property, it’s the finest details which often create the greatest impact. Demanding strict attention to detail, aesthetic excellence must go hand-in-hand with functionality and performance. As Tina Hughan of Reynaers Aluminium discusses with the case of a unique dwelling in Salcombe, the use of aluminium doors and windows in domestic properties supports architects to create transformational spaces which have a lasting impact.

Proudly standing on the cliffs of Salcombe, overlooking one of Devon’s most highly rated beaches in a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the dwelling appears as a single-storey home from road level above. With the site formerly home to a timber-framed seaside lodge, the design was required to work with the immediate context in order to minimise visual change along a popular tourist route and, subsequently, comply with strict Building Regulations standards.

Once beyond its intentionally deceiving facade, the building opens up into a three-storey home, effortlessly cascading into the surrounding topography. Centred around a contemporary kitchen-diner, the luxury home comprises five bedrooms and two reception rooms, in addition to boasting a cinema room, swimming pool and wine cellar.

But creating a one-of-a-kind home in such an environment wouldn’t be without its challenges. Sloping coastal cliffs, near-inaccessible driveways, and coastal marine environmental conditions were just some of the hurdles that would have to be navigated.

Of course, overcoming these technical challenges was about more than building a family home. The goal was to create a completely unique space, nestled into the cliff-side to provide a feeling of comfort and seclusion, while maximising the views over the estuary.

To achieve this, Devon-based Aspect Windows fabricated and installed ten Reynaers aluminium lift-and-slide doors, alongside aluminium windows and single-entrance doors. In addition to allowing natural light to flood the building via large glazed areas, the aluminium solutions also minimise the barriers between the inside and out. Maximising the feeling of space within the property, this system allows every room a view across the water and easy access to a terrace, which makes the most of the seaward facing elevation.

For this project, specifying aluminium to achieve the architectural ambition of the project facilitated more than aesthetic excellence.

Steve Cooling, managing director at Aspect Windows, said: “Limited access to the property via tight turns and steep slopes meant the size and weight of materials was a key consideration on this project, both during initial installation and where ongoing maintenance is concerned. Using systems from Reynaers meant we could overcome these challenges, while also ensuring the solutions would help the property to stand up to the demands of its seaside environment.”

Once in place, the aluminium frames would provide a robust solution that provides the strength and stability required for large expanses of glazing, while delivering required pascal ratings to resolutely stand up to enduring winds and harsh coastal conditions.

Complete with a lift-and-slide mechanism – whereby the aluminium sliding door is raised up before moving across the rails – the glazing solution provides additional sealing and locking options, enhancing performance and security. Supplied in RAL 9007, the grey aluminium perfectly complements the building, while pre-anodized paint adds further durability to protect the property from the elements.

Jon Capel, architect at Harrison Sutton Partnership, who designed the Salcombe cliff-side property, said: “No matter where you stand in this stunning home, there are unobstructed views across the estuary. To perfectly capture those by connecting the inside and outside worlds, without compromising the building’s ability to handle the unpredictable conditions of coastal life, our selection of glazing materials was critical.

“Having specified Reynaers’ products on previous projects, we were confident in the ability of their aluminium systems to provide the robustness and durability needed in this harsh environment. Its profiles were also in keeping with the contemporary look and feel of this building, enhancing its unique identity.”