The site is located within the part walled demesne of Ballyscullion Park, on the shores of Lough Beg in mid-Ulster.
The park was established in the late 18th Century for a dwelling which was never completed, a later house by Lanyon in the 1840's now commands the demesne, overlooking the lough, with distant views beyond. Most of the character of the original parkland has survived in an unusually pure form. It is an almost perfect invocation of place; a classical idealised and austere landscape with the simplest manner of augmentation, relying solely on the planting of large tree clumps. The house is situated on the edge of one of these clumps, in a natural clearing of an ancient oak woodland.
The brief called for a family home which was bright, spacious and respectful of both the open parkland views and the historic woodland. The clients did not want a conspicuous house, preferring a restrained approach. Their holding within the park extended to 100 acres, and the siting of the house was negotiated with Planning on the basis of a long demolished house in the woodland, a pragmatic location rather than one planned in context of the 18th Century landscape setting.
The plan comprises two rectilinear blocks, placed to create enclosure, retaining a simple reading of form. The main block contains living spaces on the ground floor, with sleeping spaces above, rooms arranged sequentially. A low block appended to the main block provides support, enabling most rooms to be the full plan depth. The secondary block is behind, parallel to the main block, and contains garages and stores. The blocks are linked by a wall, defining public and private outdoor spaces.
The forms reference traditional rural buildings, and are refined in detail, with restrained openings to the woodland, gradually opening up to the landscape, apertures carefully proportioned and positioned to frame views. Beech hedges are intended to create necessary enclosure. From the open parkland, hand made bricks in hues of grey and the zinc roof help the dwelling harmonise with the dark trees beyond.
RSUA AWARD / RIBA REGIONAL AWARD 2019