Project DescriptionCustom / 3,000 Square Feet or Less / Grand
The judges applauded the bold approach of this modern house woven into the historic fabric of Dublin, Ireland. The site backs up to an 1847 Georgian manor residence and faces an alley in the heart of the city. It once contained the manor’s coach house, of which one wall remains standing. The local historic review board required that the wall be preserved and only minimally altered. “This was an opportunity to make it about the site and to stitch a building into a complex situation,” says the project’s architect, Lorcan O’Herlihy, FAIA.
O’Herlihy did so by creating two separate volumes connected by a glass bridge. The structure closest to the alley incorporates the Georgian-era wall into its rear façade, and contains a media room and two upstairs bedrooms. The bridge spans a central courtyard, leading to the glass-walled kitchen and living area of the main volume. By dividing the project into two pieces, O’Herlihy was able to give the preserved wall a place of prominence, while providing plenty of outdoor space on the tiny, 0.1-acre site.
Poured surfaces, such as board-formed concrete ceilings and terrazzo floors, lend the interiors a sculptural quality. O’Herlihy also chose these dense, heavy materials for their thermal capacity and their muscular presence. “We wanted to have both a strong voice and a respect for the context,” he explains. The jury approved. “This one has an attitude,” said a judge. “It’s a livable piece of art.” —Meghan Drueding