This small one- and- two storey house is located on a site to the rere of a large Edwardian house in the inner suburbs of South Dublin; the area is one of leafy roads, red brick houses with large mature gardens.
Mews lanes behind the houses originally served as access for vehicles and deliveries; many of these lanes are now built up with contemporary houses- one city reversed on the other and an appropriate densification of use. The garden width was 13.0m; it was decided that the house site should be an exact square of 13.0x 13.0m.
The planning context dictated that the external envelope should be constructed in the local granite coursed rubble stone.
The accommodation is arranged around external garden courts inset within a regular enclosure.
From the outset concrete was the material of choice, both as a structural system and an
expressive aesthetic. The internal space is free flowing under an uninterrupted in-situ concrete soffit, which spans between perimeter blockwork walls and asymmetrically supports the first floor over, allowing uninterrupted views and access to the gardens. Deep upstand support beams are used to form rooflight openings bringing light to the ground floor. Different kinds of spaces are located in the external gardens, each visible from one another and drawn into the house by a series of opening screens.
The house frames Nature. The core concept was that each garden would be planted differently- with trees, with vegetables, with grass, allowing the client to perceive the changing seasons within an enclosed world. The roof is seen as another landscape, planted, with upstanding rooflights and an upper storey containing a bedroom and bathroom.
External walls are formed in coursed granite and cedar cladding. There is a basement room in one corner lit on two sides by external courts. The “as-struck” concrete soffit produced by film faced plywood formwork contrasts with the highly polished concrete worktop of the kitchen, softening it for everyday use.
Sustainability was an essential part of the client requirement. The concrete slab acts as a thermal store, charged by light from the glazed screens and rooflights and insulated by the green roof over.
The living space has glazing to the east, south and west, which provides shifting light and shadow throughout the day.