David Leech Architects: A House in a Garden
Location: 81 Hollybrook Grove, Clontarf, Dublin 3
This new house is situated in a garden at the end of a short terrace of a 1940’s estate in Clontarf, on the fringe of Dublin city centre. The site is bounded to the west by a typical suburban hedgerow, mainly of privet and lonicera nitida, to the northwest by the blank roughcast wall of the existing terrace, and to the northeast by a high wall backing onto a public laneway.
On the ground floor a cross-shaped core divides a roughly square plan into 4 public rooms: a hall, kitchen, dining and living room. These are located according to proportion and orientation and step in section to accommodate ceiling heights of varying dimension and intimacy. The core contains the service and plumbed elements of the plant, wash closet, kitchen, fireplace as well as storage and the staircase. A continuous loop of circulation is located around the perimeter.
The majority of the supporting structure is located away from the exterior within the internal cross-shaped core. This allows a curtain of glass and timber folding doors to wrap the outside of the house at ground level on the garden side.
On fine days, the folding doors can slide back from the corners allowing the house to spread outside – reducing the house’s footprint to the structural core. The garden will be lushly planted to provide a variety of flora responding to light, shade, aspect and condition.
The first floor is laid out with three bedrooms and a bathroom off a small central landing. The landing is lit from a tall roof light contained within an extruded chimneystack. The landing is one door wide and two doors in length. The ceilings are draped along the pitch of the roof, falling from 4.8m above the sweep of the doorway to 1.8m around the perimeter. These rooms are lined in a through-coloured MDF with a coloured marquetry MDF floor.
Externally, the house is treated in a manner similar to the existing estate. The masonry walls are finished in an off-white cementious render, deeply roughcast on the garden side and hand troweled smooth on the laneway elevation.
A heather-coloured fibre cement roof is elaborated with expressed copper crampions, copper guttering and tall copper standing seam hips. Copper downpipes are used to draw figures across blank parts of the facade. Left untreated over time these elements will oxidise to a pale powder green.
Where the house meets the laneway a simple gable is projected with the image of a doorway and window set in relief.
This is the first project for the office of David Leech architects.
Hi-visibility clothing is required for this site visit.
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