The site comprised a modest single storey 1960's house, situated in a mature garden on the periphery of a small village located about 5 kilometres south of Belfast, and within the Lagan Valley Regional Park, a mosaic of countryside, parks and nature reserves. The site benefitted from panoramic views of the river valley and the hills beyond, and although the existing house was basic, an extended room had been carefully made with painted brick walls and a dark timber sheeted butterfly roof.
The new dwelling is carefully placed into the existing garden, and is expressed as 2 forms, each rectangular in plan, in a linear arrangement but offset from each other in plan and section to negotiate the sloping topography and to respond to the views. The larger form, to the south and to the entrance side, contains the main entrance and the living/entertaining spaces in a single volume, complete with a mezzanine play/study area and a sunken 'conversation pit' underneath, whilst the smaller form to the north and in the private garden, contains vertical circulation with snug, study and parents suite on the lower floor, and children's bedrooms on the upper floor, each floor level a half storey down or up from the main living level. A third form is positioned at right angles to the main house and contains the ancillary accommodation. Extending walls define the public arrival courtyard space from the private garden beyond.
The forms are constructed in grey brick (natural outside, painted inside), the roofs of the main house forming a low gull-wing along their length, reflecting both the spirit of the previous dwelling and creating a profile to reference the surrounding rolling landscape and distant hills. Externally, the elevations are carefully composed employing deep reveals, perforated brick and large areas of walls without windows, to assist the monolithic brick form expression and to create privacy within the house. Windows are dark stained hardwood, floors are mainly polished concrete, and the roof is zinc with large flush mounted roof lights, helping to flood the interior with light.
RIBA REGIONAL AWARD / RSUA DESIGN AWARD 2023
LIAM MCCORMICK PRIZE 2023
RIBA NATIONAL AWARD 2023