A House in a Garden – WAF Award Shortlist
Situated in a garden at the end of a short terrace of a 1940s suburban estate, ‘A House in a Garden’ is a new residential development from David Leech Architects.
Located on the edge of Dublin, ‘A House in a Garden’ is a contemporary interpretation of the ordinary suburban house. The house has been constructed using everyday materials and techniques easily sourced and knowledgeable for a local builder and tradesmen. These materials and techniques were then amplified and exaggerated to become something unusual but familiar.
Earlier this year, the project was shortlisted for a WAF Award. It is one of 18 projects named in the ‘House – Completed Buildings’ category.
Beginning with the project’s site, it was bordered by a number of complications. The site is bounded to the south by an existing hedge of hazel and privet, to the northwest by the blank wall of the original terrace and to the northeast by a high wall backing onto a public laneway.
Externally, the house is treated in a manner similar but exaggerated to the immediate terrace housing. The masonry walls are finished in a pigmented off-white cementitious render, deeply roughcast on the garden side and hand trowelled smooth on the laneway elevation and public faces. The roof is a heather coloured fibre cement roof that has been given some flair through the use of expressed untreated copper crampions, copper guttering and tall sanding seam hips.
Copper downpipes have creatively been used to decorate blank parts of the façade, similar to a line drawing. Over time these elements will oxidise to a pale powder green.
Internally, the layout of the ground floor was influenced by planning requirement for outdoor amenity space. The majority of the supporting walls are located within an internal cross-shaped core, allowing a curtain of timber and glass folding doors to wrap the exterior of the house for direct connection and access to the garden. In warm weather, the folding doors can slide back from their corners to allow a crossover between outdoor and in. This design choice was also aided by the privacy provided to the property by thick hedgerow.
The cross-shaped core has resulted in 4 public rooms – a hall/library, kitchen, dining and living room. These rooms are located according to proportion and orientation and step in section to accommodate ceiling heights of varying dimension and intimacy.
The first floor is laid out with three bedrooms and a bathroom off a small central landing. The landing is lit from a tall roof light contained within an extruded chimneystack and lined in timber panelling up to door height. The landing is one door wide and two doors in length. From this space, panelled doors open into generously proportioned bedrooms side lit from large windows sitting on the skirting of the opposing walls.
A variety of flowers, many of which are edible, have been planted in the garden, responding to light, shade, aspect and condition.
Established in 2016, David Leech Architects is a London-based Irish architectural practice. David Leech founded the company on the back of nearly fifteen years’ experience working for a number of prestigious European practices. The company specialises in contemporary projects and has already received recognition for its inaugural projects. ‘A House in a Garden’ was the first project for the practice. For more information, please visit www.david-leech.co.uk.