Burren House, Dublin - Architects’ Journal

April 2011

Text Níall McLaughlin
Images Nick Kane

Anglesea Road in Dublin is lined with substantial Victorian terraced redbrick houses. Gardens stretch back from the houses to the River Dodder at the back of the site. High granite rubble walls enclose them. The back land space has a serene character of its own. It is a maze of stony garden enclosures. The area is given to flooding. Locals estimate that anything below the ground floor door handles is vulnerable.

The design for this house began with a conversation with the client about a persistent theme in the work of Californian architect Craig Ellwood. He prepared a significant number of designs based on the idea of a glazed truss surmounting a stone enclosure. The truss would contain a pavilion and the stone enclosure would be organised into rooms and courtyards. This arrangement brings together the two house types explored by Mies van der Rohe, The Farnsworth House, a vitrine opening out to nature and The Courtyard House, an enclosed world looking back into itself. The form, material palette and luminosity for this house are intended to work in that cloudy, showery, maritime environment particular to Dublin.

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