Wednesday30 July 2014

Ballyedmond House by Steve Larkin Architects

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Steve Larkin Architects makes innovative use of sash windows to open up a house in rural Ireland

Ballyedmond House
Steve Larkin Architects
Hacketstown, County Carlow, Ireland

Steve Larkin Architects’ recently completed house in County Carlow, Ireland, is an intelligent modern interpretation of a traditional local typology: part traditional farmhouse, part Aldo Rossi-esque.

Ballyedmond House by Steve Larkin Architects

In form the building is close to its vernacular sources — a simple long house with a pitched roof and the end gable facing onto the adjacent road. In appearance the house is also suggestive of its neighbours, with roughcast natural finish render walls with a slate roof.

While the typical local type is nestled within a cluster of buildings, the Ballyedmond house stands isolated, the crisp profile of its roof framed against the distant Wicklow mountain range.

The house is modest in size and the basic layout is accordingly simple, a ground floor with kitchen/dining room, sitting room and a bedroom and a first floor with a study, two bedrooms and a bathroom. The first-floor access corridor has been widened and fitted out as a library to house the client’s book collection.

However, the clients for the house were returning to the area after a time spent in Dublin and the detailing of the building’s remarkable sash windows betrays a parallel interest in the Georgian windows of that city that, combined with the local typological awareness, has created a richly rewarding project.

The site is butterfly shaped and the building is located at the pinch point, neatly dividing the site in two and bringing the clients into close daily contact with the wildlife of the perimeter ditches and hedgerows. The siting also allowed the creation of two distinct outside areas for the clients, who are keen gardeners: a kitchen garden to the north-west and an orchard garden to the south-east.

Ballyedmond House by Steve Larkin Architects

KEY: 1. Ventilated roof: Blue Bangor slates on battens and counter battens with breathable underlay draped between battens. Natural insulation with vapour check to underside. Cast in-situ concrete gutter to falls.Code 05 lead lining with falls to inside of gutter. 2. First-floor ceiling:PAO paired larch beams with spacers. Square-edged larch boards to underside. 3. Walls:Cavity wall construction. 215mm-thick inner leaf. 150mm cavity with SS ties. 120mm cavity insulation. 100mm outer leaf. Lime-based render. 4. Ground-floor: ceiling PAO larch flitch beams with 15mm steel plate. PAO larch joists over and square-edged TG boards. Insulation and polished concrete screed over. 5. Window: Single hardwood vertical sliding sash window operating across two storeys with pairs of lead counterweights both sides hung on chains. Weight boxes both sides integrated into frames and internal lining. Window construction in depth of inner leaf with WBP plywood bracing and vapour check. Cast in-situ lintel draining to either side. Continuous cast in-situ polished concrete sill. 6. Ground floor: Polished concrete screed on insulation, DPM and slab.

Single-storey walls extend out from the compact plan in all directions, connecting to the north to a rainwater pool and to the south to an as yet unbuilt gatehouse and framing views, forming protected micro-environments and connecting the small house with the landscape of the mountains beyond.

Ballyedmond House by Steve Larkin Architects

Source: Alice Clancy

The sash windows allow the house to act as an open-sided room connecting the outdoor spaces.

The house is entered through a colonnade. Once inside, full-height windows line the north and south sides of the kitchen/ dining room, while a single internal concrete column divides the space, suggesting the way ahead and up to the first-floor accommodation, or through and into the habitable space.

Ballyedmond House by Steve Larkin Architects

Source: Alice Clancy

Full-height windows line the sides of the kitchen/dining room.

The windows on either side of the room are in fact full-height hardwood sash windows, detailed so that when opened they recede into spaces within the first-floor wall thickness. The realisation of this fact helps one understand the building’s facades better; the characteristic alternating of solids and voids on ground and first in elevation suggesting where window openings and housings are.

The window detail allows the client to open the building up completely, the textural similarity between the roughcast render pilasters and the concrete with its coarse aggregate and needled finish allowing the ground floor to read as an open colonnade. The house no longer separates the two gardens, becoming instead an open-sided columned room that connects the outdoor spaces to either side.


Architect Steve Larkin Architects
Client Breandán Mac Cormaic and Máire de Paor
Structural engineer Peter Brunner & Associates
Main contractor Carbery Construction
Windows & doors supplier PJ Dunbar Joiner


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