Much of the Irish landscape has been devastated in recent years by indiscriminate bungalow development. This house, situated approximately three metres from Brandy Harbour, an inlet of Galway Bay on the west coast, could be read as a retrospective essay in what might have been; an attempt to understand the materials of the Irish countryside and also the form of the traditional architecture whilst at the same time make a contemporary response to both landscape and lifestyle.
Traditionally, Irish cottages are dominated by their roof, while internally a large central space extending up to the roof gives onto smaller spaces at either end, a model which, to our mind, is peculiarly appropriate once again to contemporary family life.
Externally therefore we have adopted a simple rectilinear form with the first floor spaces partially enveloped within a roof formed of mill finished aluminium like the galvanised steel of local barns and with a curved roof apex distantly reminiscent of thatch. The structure of rafters supported on "scissor trusses" results in a gently curving internal vault finished in plywood. The landscape of undulating dry stone walls is gathered up at ground floor level to form a battered rain screen to insulation, placed externally around a block work construction. Above the dry stone walls and below the aluminium is cedar boarding and sliding windows. Internally, entrance is made at a slightly lower level where there is also a study/guest bedroom. A large family room dominates the centre with sliding glazed doors opening direct to a terrace looking to Brandy Harbour.
Connected by sliding panels at first floor is a living room with disappearing corners to the windows to the view to the sea, whilst at the other end, reached by a bridge, is the master bedroom which looks north to a further view of the sea. Unusually the bathroom is also connected to the main space with a sliding panel to allow conversation between a bather and others in the kitchen below or the living space across The ruin of a previous house forms a walled garden and a re-roofed barn completes an informal enclosure with the new house.
The house was completed in 1997.
|Architects||Richard Murphy, Hamish Ginn, Ian Strakis|
|Engineers||David Narro, Ignatius Greavey|
|Client||Rod & Sue Stoneman|
1999 RIAI Award