Private House at Clonakilty - A+D

May 2006

Text A+D
Images Nick Kane, Níall McLaughlin

The sea area around ‘Galley Head Lighthouse’ is notorious for its storms, shipwrecks and sea rescues. There was a coastguard station here, an old cottage built of natural stone boulders, and the old boathouse complete with slipway. Both were refurbished and converted to sleeping accommodation. A new extension was built to provide additional space for living accommodation and, together with cottage and boathouse, forms a courtyard that opens out towards the bay. The new structure features an inclined shear wall on the north side and a generously cantilevered roof with a triangular overhang extending east towards the sea. Its unusual, technoid shape stands in stark contrast to its surroundings of sheer rock faces as well as to the existing buildings. Furthermore, its layout is also stretched to form a parallelogram, and so the new structure needed some optical stability which the architects provided by joining the roof to the exterior wall and cladding both uniformly with fibre cement slates. The two now provide shelter for the floor-to-ceiling high glazed panorama windows over looking the courtyard and the bay. Since the slope is rather less than is common for this type of roofing cover the slate overlap is wider than usual, and there are additional sub-constructions underneath for moisture protection. Shortly after its completion the building was attacked by one of those storms that recur only once in twenty years, as the locals recall, and breakers from the high spring tide shot right up to the triangular roof. There was no damage whatsoever.

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