Four rudimentary derelict buildings formerly occupied this site, too disparately scattered to evoke a sense of place. Instead, the new dwelling deliberately echos the archetypal clachan arrangement in layout. A series of different scale buildings are grouped around an external courtyard to create a sense of arrival.
Set within the Antrim Coast & Glens Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the design had to respond to the stunning Straidkilly landscape sloping towards the Antrim coast, whilst also negotiating the small settlement character of dwellings on its approach side.
In section, restrained single-storey pitched-roof forms receiving the arrival courtyard (ground level) stretch towards the steeper side of the site to gently overhang a stone plinth (lower-ground level), which could be imagined as a pre-existing ruin, or perceived as a rocky outcrop of the mountainous Straidkilly landscape.
Such duality allows a modest reading of the form from the approach side, whilst on the coastal side, the full scale of the house reveals itself.
This shift in scale is navigated via a timber-clad entrance portico presenting onto a generous staircase, revealing the inverted plan housing the bedroom accommodation below. The social heart of the home is open-plan, abundantly glazed to avail of the magnificent views. This sequence of social spaces was carefully considered to both allow a continuous flow, whilst still maintaining a sense of distinct enclosure for each type of activity. The kitchen is lit via timber-clad rooflights, admitting morning sun from above. Ancillary utility and larder rooms are tucked underneath this ceiling-scape. The living space/lounge at opposite ends of the plan interact with one another via their glazed counterparts, one giving onto an external balcony, the other with a deliberately framed picture-window.
The materials are chosen from the familial rural pallete of the locale: re-used basalt stone from the demolished structures (additional stone required for the quantity needed was sourced from a local quarry to match), crisp white render for the upper forms to contrast. Irish blue limestone lines the external windows reveals. The building was detailed with a finely and evenly textured ayan timber to add warmth.
February 6, 2017