Decca Radar Station

  • Client: F. Naylor
  • Location: Dungeness, Kent
  • Status: Completed
  • Team: Michel Schranz & Julien Kiefer
  • Contractor for Superstructure: Burkhard Trilegno AG Switzerland
  • Fit Out Contractor: Shape in collaboration with Forma
  • Zinc Cladding Contractor: Exterior Metal Crafts Ltd.
  • Windows & Doors: JOSKO Europe
  • Use: Holiday Let
  • Photos: Billy Bolton
  • Awards:
    Wood Awards 2019, Shortlisted
    Dezeen Awards 2019, Interiors, Shortlisted

Decca is the name of a record label that branched into different enterprises such as developing radar equipment; this was started in 1949 and the radar division with its original name Decca survived through several change of hands of the company between 1979 and 2004, when the name finally disappeared.
Decca had used two sheds on the shingle beach of Dungeness to test new radar equipment. Several platforms and support structures were added over the years but in the past 30 years everything fell into disrepair and when we were commissioned to redevelop the site the structures were entirely dilapidated.

The brief was to establish a holiday let for two to enjoy the views of Dungeness's desert like surroundings. Dramatic weather on the Channel, freight ships passing and ever changing light on this thrilling landscape are a welcome destination for Londoners and others for breaks.
Planning was granted in summer 2017 by committee and construction started in January 2018 and was completed later the same year.
We attempted to design with a vernacular approach, responding to local fishermen’s huts and sheds clad in corrugated metal. We tried to find a balance between the rugged landscape and a cosy shelter with elements complementing each other as well as respecting privacy & transparency - two contradicting aspects that both had to be taken into account.

The superstructure was pre-fabricated in Switzerland, shipped and built in less than five days, including windows and doors to establish a waterproof shell for the cladding and interior fit out to be added. Concrete fence posts were left as a relic of the old Decca sheds and forming a suggestive boundary.