Our clients brief simply asked for a new family home with more light and space but they were adamant that they did not want to move from the area. So, a new dwelling was designed to sit at the bottom of their unloved and overgrown back garden. It is a small but prominent corner site, bounded by a mixture of garden walls and backland garage developments, exposed on its eastern boundary by large open park and access road.
The accommodation consists of two lower level bedrooms and two bathrooms with an upper level kitchen, utility and a large open plan living/dining area, all dispersed over three separate plates. All of these main habitable spaces are connected both physically and visually with the private central courtyard and the connection of these spaces is further reinforced through the use of bamboo flooring throughout. The design and aesthetic of the building is a reflection of both its semi industrial context and the particular geometry of the site. There were also certain planning constraints which when applied to the brief became one of the main drivers behind the buildings basic concept. This meant that the two storey element of the building was partially sunk below the existing ground line and the resulting change in level was then utilised in section to create the complex relationship between the main living volumes and spaces.
This central open courtyard has also been spilt into two separate levels in an attempt to bridge the gap between the surrounding spaces, extending their visual boundaries externally and providing rooms beyond with an even exposure to southern light. The south west facing living/dining space also protrudes slightly over the central courtyard, providing a covered walkway to the front of the quiet secluded bedrooms below and brings the inhabitants within touching distance of the surrounding bamboo screen. Externally the building presents a solid exterior, painted sand and cement rendered walls and treated timber cladding are for the most part blank, but they conceal a series of solid opening sections to areas behind. A single section of flush panel glazing to the northern side of the living area acts like an eyepiece looking out over the adjoining parkland and the streetscape below.
Once you pass through this solid exterior you enter into an unexpected environment. Your point of entry is marked by a double height volume and from here you are instantly drawn into the light filled central courtyard or orientated to the living accommodation above or the sleeping accommodation below.Location: Rathfarnham, Ireland Architects: ODOS Architects
Design: June 2006
Project Completion: August 2008
Total Floor Area: 162sqm
Construction: South Lotts Engineering
Photography: Enda Kavanagh and ODOS Architects