The house that John built (for Sarah)
This is a house for a growing family, a project that is a cumulation of thoughts about materiality that has evolved over a number of years in a true collaboration with the owners who’s 3 storey Victorian house was a blank canvas – the partnership involved the two owners – one the builder and the other the client.
The idea relates to 2 volumes that sit back to back. They touch at their intersection but don’t engage directly, one looks in to the other – like a love seat, looking over ones shoulder at the other. The concrete volume draws in the sky, the timber volume cuts in to the ground. The concrete has the imprint of the timber, like a memory of an earlier version of the design – appropriate for a scheme that developed as a concept over ten years.
The interests were in board-marked concrete and the experimentation of relief, surface and lining and in timber for both the concrete formwork and the kitchen lining. The garden room is a board-marked concrete cube with a double height funnel bringing in the light. The ply lined kitchen is made as a 3 dimensional lattice work with ceiling fins that thread the space together and full height doors; the warm light held in the carapace and reflecting from the sheen of the plywood. The spaces are linked with a concrete floor and other smaller interventions thread the ideas through the house as a whole.
And the ship sails on
This house is in Harolds Cross, on a wedge shaped corner site with a large garden on Shanid Road. The geometry of the site inspired a response which involved wrapping the existing house in a carapace that had to yield a master bedroom and a generous space for cooking, eating and entertaining. The brief had two components: an enormous bed and for the preparation and sharing of food to be central to the home.
The carapace has a taut exterior and a flayed interior, like the concept of the Aran currach. Built economically in simple materials, the interior of the space reveals the steel structure and the timbers that span between them have been left exposed, as if the ceiling had been peeled off. This has all been painted white, and acts as a counterpoint to the simple surfaces at the lower levels, where oak and sharp blue tiles give a weight to the work areas.
A series of triangular rooflights take this geometry and shine light on the cranked double-height kitchen as well as the master bedroom on the first floor. The exposed roof structure is uplit in the bedroom to give a sense of warmth and interest, a bath sits at one end with the enormous bed on a platform beyond and a dressing area in between. A tiny window in the bedroom wall looks through the new roof across the double height space and to trees beyond.