We are currently undertaking the redevelopment of an 19th Century stone wall beach house, which was once an old Shepherd’s cottage and one of a few buildings to survive a devastating earthquake in 1979. The site is situated 10m from the beach in Bijela, Boka Kortoska Bay, Montenegro and exists as a dilapidated two level stone house. The brief for the redevelopment was to add another floor to create two separate units. The brief also asked for enhanced security during the vacant periods of the house, as there have been more than 10 attempt breakages into the house to date.

The internal layout of the existing lower level is re-configured to create a two bedroom flat, and a separate front garden. The existing upper level has been re-configured and it was added another floor above to create a four bedroom flat with two large terraces and a side & front garden.

In respecting the buildings traditional vernacular and period of construction, we took the attitude that all new work should complement its 19th Century construction methodology and materiality rather than mimic it. The roof is designed as a mansard form in order to minimise the impact of new roof bulk against the existing stone wall. Top floor south facing bedrooms utilise the views and the position by having full size picture windows. The solid copper-clad awning above the balcony provides sun shade in summer months and has the ability to fold down in off-season periods when the house is not in use to act as a solid shutter for the large picture windows.

We chose to redevelop the beach house to incorporate a contemporary angular roof form which increases in volume to the south to exploit its bay views. To complement the rough cut traditional stone, we chose a vibrant and shiny copper with expressed standing seam fin joints to indicate current cladding methods, and large picture frame glass dormers to the east and north which respond in proportion and position to the old windows recessed into the stone wall below.