1. Home
  2. /
  3. Houses
  4. /
  5. Ness Point - a white house stood on a white cliff by Tonkin...

Ness Point - a white house stood on a white cliff by Tonkin Liu

Ness Point is a house set in the dramatic landscape of the White Cliffs of Dover, United Kingdom, designed by London-based architectural practice Tonkin Liu.

Project description by architects:

Ness point a white house stood on a white cliff,
 looking along the coast to a taller white cliff, over time the house grew like the cliff that it admired,mon the roof grew chalk-land flowers and grasses.

a White House located in dover, UK

Ness Point is a house set in the dramatic landscape of the White Cliffs of Dover. Hunkered into the land with undulating thick walls along its length, Ness Point is constructed as a journey with views that pull the surrounding landscape into the house. Each room is orientated towards a different aspect of the landscape, across the passing ships of the English Channel, towards the sun rising out of the sea at the winter solstice, to the coastal cliffs called Ness Point, after which the house is named.

living room with large curved window toward a sea view The texture of the white rendered walls of the building catches the dynamic and ever-changing play of light that reflects off the
 sea below. 

sun light entering the living area through the curvy window

Along the sea-facing southern façade, the house rises up towards the sky and
 deep window recesses in the thick wall create sunshade. To the north, flush windows form internal niches in a top lit double-height art gallery. The highly sealed and insulated castle-
like house utilises heat recovery and solar thermal renewable systems to maximise energy efficiency in the winter, whilst the long gallery skylight enables controlled passive cooling in the summer. The bio-diverse green roof slopes down toward the rising site at the back, retaining rainwater and harbouring local wildlife, merging the house with the landscape into which it is anchored. 

modern bathroom with a curved skylight letting the natural sun light enterAlthough the form is irregular the constructional techniques used to construct the house are traditional. The combined effect of undulating plan and inclined sections creates a cavernous internal space that has been articulated to allow flexibility of use. The interior catches the dynamism of the day’s changing light so that the building becomes a part of the larger canvas of ever-changing coastal weather.

double volume corridor In response to the exposed nature of cliff top site perched 65 meter above the sea, the house is designed as a highly sealed and insulated enclosure. The castle-
like Ness Point House utilises heat recovery and solar thermal renewable systems to maximise energy efficiency in the winter, whilst the long gallery skylight and eco-vents enable passive cooling for equally exposed hot summer sun.

a White House stood on a cliff in dover United Kingdom Ness Point has been designed as if it had grown out of the land in which it is embedded. The bio-diverse green roof slopes downward into the land at the rear, retaining rainwater and harbouring local wildlife, merging the house, over time, into the landscape of the coastal cliff top.

a modern White House with spectacular sea view situated on a cliff in Dover, UKThe client grew up in the locality and commissioned Tonkin Liu to design a modern building that responded to the cultural heritage of this landmark setting and to his own family heritage, suggesting that the building could in some ways be Celtic.

white nest shaped pendant lamp over kitchen island

wooden staircase

rocky stones used in the garden design

a modern house with garden roof

a tree grown on the roof of the house

Ground Floor Plan Ground Floor Plan 

First Floor Plan First Floor Plan 

ElevationEast Elevation 

architectural model made of wood

maquette made of wood


Project name: Ness Point

Architect: Tonkin Liu

Location: Dover, United Kingdom

Area: 439 m²

Year: 2016

Structural engineer: Eckersley O’Callaghan

Landscape design: Tonkin Liu

Lighting: iGuzzini

Interior design: Aedas

Photographer: Robby Whitfield, Nick Guttridge, Greg Storrar


By Naser N. Ibrahim

Share on: