Stag Point Gunnery
In the Spring of 2017, award winning facade specialists RDL Render were approached to undertake a unique project and assist in transforming the cliff-edge Stag Point gun emplacement into a thermally efficient modern home; 100ft up and overlooking the English Channel at the northernmost point of Kent's famous white cliffs.
Following the outbreak of World War II and the invasion of France, newly elected Prime Minister Winston Churchill recognized that Britain's coastal defences were woefully inadequate should Adolf Hitler decide to cross the channel and attack England. Part of the solution was the hasty construction of over 150 'Emergency Coastal Defence Batteries' (ECDB) along the eastern and southern coastline of Britain. Completed in 1941 and with bombproof walls up to half a meter thick, The Stag Point Gunnery in Kingsdown comprised a crew barracks, an underground tunnel system for linking gun positions, engine room to power the guns, underground magazine storage for munitions, a high powered searchlight for illuminating targets and a pair of 6-inch naval guns taken from a WWI destroyer. The gunnery remained active right up until the final days before D-day and the allied invasion of France and only decommissioned in late 1944 once the threat of wartime invasion had passed.
In March 2010, the government revised their guidelines regarding listed buildings and conservation areas, defining the gunnery as a 'heritage asset'. To convert it into a habitable home, and still retain its character and heritage, the new owner endured 4 years of negotiation with planners in order to finally begin work on transforming this wartime piece of history into a cliff top dream home with panoramic views to the coast of France.
In summer 2017, RDL Render commenced work on phase 1. With the cliff-edge property just yards from the sea, it needed a cutting-edge EWI system to deal with the extreme coastal conditions that the refurbished property will face over the decades to come. Pull testing, wind loading calculations and technical survey determined a 90mm Baumit StarSystem would be ideal. Its robust elasticity and flexibility under duress ensures 100% performance, even under the most challenging of environmental conditions. The biggest challenge initially though, was getting the 100+ bags of 25kg StarContact Basecoat up the 100ft cliff without any road access to the rear of the site!
With a 5-man installation team, Phase 1 took less than 9 days. Over 250m2 of Insulated Render installed to the cliff top facade, curved works, parapet walls and original retained gunnery loop holes, finished in Baumit Silikontop hydrophobic textured topcoat. Phase 2 began mid-autumn, once construction of the customers' private cliff-face lift shaft was installed. RDL returned to complete the low level render works to the beach road lift entrance and handover to the client.
History is all about the past, while technological advances in thermal-performance building systems is all about the future. But by combining the two at this stunning, cliff top dwelling RDL have helped maintain the heritage of a historical asset, while assisting in its transformation into a modern, and thermally efficient home by the sea.
The Stag Point Gunnery. Bombproof, Weatherproof, Futureproof.
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