The Pines Calyx, 2006

St Margarets Bay

Designed by Helionix Designs

Architect Issy Benjamin, Helionix Designs, Contractors Conker Conservation and Ecolibrium. Michael Ramage, John Ochsendorf and Wanda Lau designed the vaults. The building consists of 850mm rammed chalk walls surmounted by shallow tile vaults. The walls and thin-shell masonry domes are made of waste material: chalk excavated from the building’s foundation; the tiles were made from waste clay washed out of a local gravel quarry.

COMMISSIONER The Bay Trust

OWNER The Bay Trust

MORE INFO The Bay Trust

PHOTOGRAPHS Nigel Green

Charles Holland: “The Pines Calyx has been described as ‘hobbit-like’ and its curved white form sits snugly into the steep topography of St. Margaret’s Bay. It is composed of two intersecting circles, one set lower than the other and covered by a grass roof that steps between them. From some angles the building is barely there.

It has been constructed from rammed chalk or ‘clunch’ dug from the site on which it sits and this material forms the surface both inside and out. With its curving white walls topped with wild grass, it can be read as a built version of the landscape in which it sits.”