There existed a dilapidated derelict brick building on the original site. This was carefully taken down with all the original brick salvaged to be reused in the new house. We were extremely restricted by budget, building regulations and the constraints of the site. We embraced these obstacles as opportunities to create an exciting new typology and aesthetic. We exposed and polished the precast concrete slabs in order to save height. We exposed and painted the concrete blocks in order to save money and we sunk the kitchen below ground which negated the need for a second fire escape which ultimately meant the project was feasible. The house itself was split over 4 floors. The kitchen was located on the ground floor with the sunken floor doubling up as a bench to the dining area. A double height void visually connects the kitchen and living rooms above and allows light to flood down to the spaces below. The second floor consisted of two bedrooms, a shared bathroom and there was a master suite located on the top floor taking advantage of the roofspace. The design aesthetic was led by the constraints of the project as opposed to fighting against them. This meant exploring how we can make each element beautiful but also how each element speaks to each other. We wanted to create a calm, monastic type space, a space where you can perceive nature and the changes of daylight. Sometimes we feel that spaces that are too minimal can be cold, dead and lifeless, that is why we brought in texture and warmth through utilization of the timber and yellow floor and softness with the furnishings and plants. The window reveals themselves are an important part of the overall project. They were rendered smooth to create a contrast with the rough blocks. They conceal window frames, blinds, lights and also double up as sinks, shelves and benches in different rooms. We concealed lights under handrails, in bulkheads and under units this gives a wash of light and users are not subject to glare or visual clutter. All of these elements worked together to create a refuge from the stress of the city located right in the center of it.
Residential, New Build
Darragh Breathnach, Joe Keohane, Giovanna Santoru
Photos by Shane Lynham