A-House is a single-family house located on a mews lane in a Victorian suburb of Dublin city. The house is an exploration of diagonal space within an orthogonal form and the possibilities of integrating environmental concerns at a fundamental level.
The site was chosen for its proximity to schools, local shops, recycling facilities and work, allowing a daily life independent of the car or public transport. The house itself is large enough to support a family over a lifetime. Located in the former back garden of a three storey Victorian terraced house, the house is accessed from a lane to the south with the garden to the north.
A concrete tube provides the structural and spatial organisation and encloses the public areas of the house. Divided by joinery elements, the tube of space is twisted between ground and first floor to allow a relationship to the garden and daylight from above. This diagonal spatial relationship between the two floors allows a simultaneous experience of all dimensions of the house - length, breadth, height and extending into the surroundings in unexpected diagonal glimpses.
Concerns of establishing a relationship with the garden and maximising daylight penetration to the North facing garden facade when East & West facades are blank, dictated the organisation of family rooms at ground and first floor connected by a narrow void. A strong visual and spatial connection is established between the kitchen/dining room at ground level and the study on the first floor, capitalising on natural lighting and glimpsed views. Arranged around the conceptual tube, are the less public rooms: garage, utility room and WC at ground level and children’s bedrooms and bathroom at first floor.
The layout allows for an independent or guest bedroom suite at ground level and gives flexibility to accommodate change in family circumstances. The modest garden will provide space to grow vegetables and fruit while the roofs are covered in sedum to provide surface water attenuation and replaces the building’s ‘green footprint’.
In common with its neighbours, the exterior is restrained, choosing a formal expression of the relationships between internal spaces and elevation. Drawing on the Georgian tradition, windows are floor-to-ceiling allowing daylight to penetrate deep into the plan.
Set within a tight urban context of protected structures, the relationship with external spaces is not founded on an expectation of privacy externally but on diagonal relationships that extend the perspective to distant views and provided a backdrop to the internal activity.
A-House has been designed to achieve an 'A’ Building Energy Rating, with a particular emphasis on the use of passive systems. The concrete exposed internally contains GGBS Portland replacement cement, a low carbon product, and is sandblasted to accentuate the liquid nature of the material and to record the process of construction.
The front and rear elevations are vented rain screen facades clad with a wood based cladding panel, chosen for it’s environmental credentials, and these facades are supported on independent laminated timber framing - from sustainable managed sources.