Author: David Flannery
David Flannery leads our Cork studio. He is also engaged with urban design and master-planning projects across the wider practice.
Elevated above a river meander, the site of Keeper House is bounded within a Special Area of Conservation encompassing magniﬁcent mature trees. A Neolithic ring fort to the north east, bears witness to the providence of the land. Views of distant mountains emerge through the trees to the east and south.
The client sought a contemporary design approach to capture the unique characteristics of the site, to include a house and a separate lodge with its own aspect and privacy. The brief proposed a low energy design, maximising visibility, connectivity and enjoyment of the natural habitat as project criteria.
The scheme is set out around a three sided walled garden, gathering vehicles in a sheltered courtyard. The south wall shifts in plane to form a shared plantroom, while also creating privacy between each dwelling. Distant views are screened, to be later revealed when entering the main social space of each house.
Common design elements are applied with subtle variation to each dwelling. Higher ceiling to social spaces, creates a dominant roof plane that ﬂoats over courtyard walls to announce entry. The main house faces south and east, with a central kitchen core that divides the plan into entrance hallway, dining area, study and living space. The lodge faces west; a distilled version of the main house plan.
Internally, the visual dominance of tree foliage through ﬂoor to ceiling glass gives seasonal deﬁnition. Bedrooms are arranged adjacent to the line of the courtyard wall, each room having direct garden access, with an external fern garden, outside shower and hot tub off the master en-suite. To the south, the connecting wall is planted with trained fruit trees, and forms a backdrop to a pathway which includes viewing platforms, and the river bank below, further harmonising landscape, architecture and occupant.