ullswater yacht club


competition, united kingdom



The design for the Ullswater Yacht Club is conceived as a system of masts and lines, of rigging. Stretched out across the landscape the new clubhouse mediates between land and water and is defined by its relationship with the water’s edge.

The approach of the building, in its function and its ability to withstand the environmental conditions of its location takes three distinct strategies. Laid out in a series of lines, the building provides haven for its occupants and responds to the fluctuations in the level of the lake.

Land; the anchor line provides for the utilitarian facilities. A solid, robust arm lies on higher ground and houses the changing amenities and toilets. Its vital role in the preparation for a day’s event, this accommodation is firmly rooted in the ground. Located away from the water’s edge the space is less prone to flood water but tackles severe flooding through defence. A tanked, sealed hull keeps the water out and provides a hardy, easily cleaned facility.

Water; the office, meeting and training rooms are situated on the surface of the water itself. The organisational helm lies at the edge of the bank, connected with the lake, responding to its rise and fall. Floating on a pontoon, this element does not resist the deluge but works with the changes in level, rising up behind the clubhouse above and tucking into the void between land and air. This space allows for the everyday running of the club and allows safe access to the lake and mooring for vessels.

Air; a place of observation and interaction. The main club area leans out over the lake, shifting the weight into the wind and balancing the mass of the building. Set high on stilts the clubhouse is above the highest flood level and provides a comfortable venue both to watch the events and to relax after a day’s sailing. Above the clubhouse is a roof terrace, a place to enjoy the beauty of the Lakeland setting and, during fine weather follow the action on the water. Here also is the race office, positioned high above the water it affords un-impeded views of the lake and a place to monitor the race and the safety of the participants.

In the centre of the building a boat dock provides a focus for the club. The winning vessel of the day can moor here whilst its crew celebrates the victory on the award balcony above. When hosting a yachting event, the latest craft can be showcased here or training can take place as a centrepiece for the clubs activities.