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54 George's Street Lower
Dublin, County Dublin,
Ireland

01 5585205

Award Wining Architects based in Monkstown, Co.Dublin and working in all surrounding counties.

Specialising in sensitive contemporary design for domestic extensions, renovations, new-build houses and interior design.  We also design and build custom joinery.

RIAI registered architects, project managers & interior designers

Dublin Architecture Blog

Hofler Architects Dublin  - Our Blog of our news and views.

Filtering by Tag: Traditional

New One Off House Design - Rural Co. Wicklow

Paul Mulhern

We have recently completed designs for a new one-off rural family dwelling to be sited in a designated "Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty" in Co. Wicklow.  The client's have established local needs as they run a business in the immediate area.  The designs have been prepared to be highly site and context specific, to take full account of the stringent planning requirements for such an area and to respond fully to the local authority's rural design guidance for planning applications.

 

House design

The high quality design of the proposed house has been developed with detailed consideration of the site, its rural context, the adjoining houses and minimizing its impact on the environment (visual and sustainable).

The linear form of the single storey house is broken and stepped slightly approximately one third along its length.  This step in the elevation and roof differentiates between the living and sleeping areas of the house.  It allows for the simple modeling of the form to produce two different roof planes and a differing plane in the front elevation, thereby reducing scale.

The single-room depth of the main part of the house has been incorporated to ensure that the roof mass and ridge heights have been minimized.  This form also results in carefully proportioned gables to both ends that are in keeping with traditional rural vernacular buildings.  This language is combined and balanced with highly considered and subtle contemporary detailing.

The narrow plan depth allows maximum sun, daylight and natural ventilation penetration.  Bedrooms are positioned where they will receive sunlight in the morning and living spaces are arranged to receive light throughout the day and evening and benefit from views.

The main entry to the house is located between the front linear volume and the rear volume of the family lounge.  This positioning responds to the existing entry driveway and allows the avoidance of a suburban form of dwelling - where entry and parking are usually located to the front.  The front of this house will be characterized by natural landscaping consisting of meadow grasses, wild flowers, native trees and hedgerow, and the existing stone/earth berm to the boundary.

The family lounge room takes on a more contemporary form with its zinc roof sloping up towards the west.  It is entirely screened to the rear of the more traditional main volume.  It is also set back from the gable end of the Living/Dining/Kitchen room and leads out to a sheltered and semi-enclosed outdoor space.

The main roof areas of the house (including the rear return) are to be double-pitched with high quality natural slate (blue/black) at 35 degrees.  The lounge room roof is to be monopitch with natural standing seam zinc at a slope of 15 degrees.  Solar panels are not proposed as our preliminary BER assessment concludes that an air-to-water heat pump will provide a more suitable means of reducing primary energy consumption.  This means that the slate roof slopes can be kept free of less visually appealing equipment installation.

Materials and windows have been carefully selected and detailed for the location.  All main elevations (front and gable ends) are to be faced with coursed rubble granite stone, which will be largely, or entirely taken from stone already piled on the adjoining land.  The heavy, solid walls will tie the house to its site.  Window and door openings have been proportioned and spaced to respect the required solid-to-void ratios typical of load-bearing stone walls.

 Materials specified include:

·      Coursed rubble stone walls

·      Stone lintels and sills

·      Blue/black natural slate

·      Mill-finished alu. gutters – vernacular detailing.

·      Alu-clad timber windows

·      Standing seam zinc roofing / fascia

·      Off-white self-coloured render

·      Low stone walls

·      Vertical self-coloured cladding boards (family lounge)

 These materials have been chosen for their appropriate visual appearance and also because they will weather and age gracefully over time.

Download Wicklow C.C. Rural Design Guide here.

Contact us with your queries relating to building new dwelling or extending in rural and high amenity areas.

 

Planning Granted for Sunday Well House, Lucan

Paul Mulhern

We have recently secured planning permission from Fingal County Council for a two-storey detached, five-bedroom house at Sunday Well, Barnhill Cross Road, Lucan, Co. Dublin on behalf of private clients in association with Future Analytics Consulting.

The site is located to the north of the River Liffey in a stunning sylvan setting at the foot of wooded escarpment, allowing the dwelling to comfortably nestle within the Liffey valley landscape.

The site is located within Zoning Objective “HA” (High Amenity) of the Fingal Development Plan 2011-2017 which seeks to protect and enhance high amenity areas. This translates to a constrictive procedural policy context for development proposals.

Building on previous permission for demolition of an existing dwelling, the consenting strategy incorporated amendments to the previously approved scheme and construction of a replacement two-storey detached 478sqm five-bedroom house, a 37.5sqm relocated garage, revised elevational detail, and changes to landscaping with ancillary development works.

Our role was to prepare designs for a large family dwelling of traditional form with subtle contemporary detailing and the highest quality materials and finishes.  The proposals respond to the client's extensive accommodation brief and the highly sensitive nature of the site by minimising visual impact and placing all rooms to maximise views towards the river and carefully consider orientation.  The house will be built to A2 ("Nearly Zero Energy") standards.

The work involved:

  • Development of client's brief
  • Site assessment and analysis
  • House design and preparation of planning application drawings
  • Coordination with planning consultant
  • Flood risk assessment in conjunction with specialist consultant
  • Landscape design in conjunction with Landscape Design Services.
  • Preparation of Visual Assessment study for High Amenity area in conjunction with Landscape Design Services.

We are now progressing with a construction drawings and specification package to take the project to tender stage and construction on site.

The house was designed by Paul Mulhern, Architect, MRIAI.

Proposed Ground Floor Plan - Click to Enlarge.

Proposed First Floor Plan - Click to Enlarge.

TRADITIONAL BUILDINGS ON IRISH FARMS

Paul Mulhern

ALTERNATIVE USES FOR OLD FARM BUILDINGS

Traditional long, narrow, single-storey farm buildings on the slopes of Knocknafreaghaun. Image via www.geograph.ie

Traditional long, narrow, single-storey farm buildings on the slopes of Knocknafreaghaun. Image via www.geograph.ie

A publication by the Heritage Council.

"Built by local builders, or the farmer himself, of readily available local materials and are truly vernacular architecture – We might even say that farm buildings of this type were sustainable before the concept was even considered".

A farm building reuse project we are working on in Carlow.

A farm building reuse project we are working on in Carlow.

ALTERNATIVE USES FOR OLD FARM BUILDINGS

The current focus on rural development provides an opportunity to see old farm buildings as an asset in finding alternative income for farm families.  A range of small-scale uses for old buildings may be possible without substantial alteration.

  • Unoccupied houses in working farmyards may be inhabited by a member of the family rather than converted to agricultural use
  • Old farmyards can be converted for craft workshops or tourism and self-catering; this may be especially viable in suburban areas or close to tourist or walking routes
  • Small-scale manufacturing industry, such as cheese- making, small-scale engineering, furniture making, and car maintenance offer other possible uses
  • Extending dwelling houses by incorporating adjoining farm buildings is sometimes possible without undue removal of cross walls and other elements of the buildings
  • Use of converted outbuildings for dwellings, holiday and self-catering accommodation may be permitted by the planning authority depending on the policies in the development plan.

Guidelines for the Repair and Maintenance of Traditional Buildings and Farmyards:

Ballinacarrig Farm Proposals, Carlow  - Hofler Architects

Ballinacarrig Farm Proposals, Carlow  - Hofler Architects

Consult your local authority conservation officer for advice on the repair of ‘listed’ farm buildings (those included in the RPS) and any grant aid available for such work.

Continue to use old farm buildings where possible

Avoid ‘gutting’ old buildings as this erases much of their historic value

Carefully site new buildings so as to avoid damaging an old yard

When repairing old farm buildings, like for like should apply.  Therefore similar materials to those used historically should be employed. These include stone, lime plaster and lime mortar, clay/mud, thatch, stone slates or flags, corrugated iron (round profile)

  • Retain old roof structures – these are all too easily lost during re-roofing
  • Retain old windows and doors
  • Protect buildings from fire by ensuring that electrical installation is to modern standards
  • Keep all stone walls in good repair, using stone similar to that in the wall if it needs to be repaired, and lime mortar with flush or recessed finish. On older buildings, it is generally not a good idea to use cement-based mortar or render to repair or plug gaps in old walls
  •  Retain cobbled floors and yard surfaces where these survive
  • Maintain and repair old timber and iron gates along with their piers and flanking walls
  • Keep old farm machinery under cover to protect it from the elements
  • Use traditional colour schemes and roof forms to help new buildings fit more easily into the overall complex
  • Keep corrugated iron roofs and claddings in good order by painting with appropriate paints
  • Keep a good source of water close by for dealing with fire
  • Keep all wells and springs free of pollutants 

Download the Heritage Council publication "Traditional Buildings on Irish Farms"

National Rural Network - "Conservation of Old Farm Buildings" - Ireland

Contact Hofler Architects to discuss conservation and alternative uses for your farm buildings here - Hofler Architects

Read about the Rock Farm Straw Bale Project here