Pastoral idyll: A carefully crafted retreat on a river estuary on the west coast of Ireland provides contemplative calm.
Apart from the west gabled wall which is fully glazed with sheets of glass butt-jointed with translucent mastic, walls are of glass panels framed with stainless steel, their transparency modified in places by cedar louvres. Gumuchdjian plays subtle games with the screens, directing perceptions of the building and its relationship with the exterior. The screening arrangement is asymmetrical so that the opaque/transparent patterns of north and south walls are different and degrees of privacy and transparency shift as you move about the building. On the sunnier south side, sheltered from the gales that sweep in from the Atlantic, the central panels are sliding glass doors onto the terrace and a newly made freshwater pond. On the north, the most easterly panel is clear and frames the river's curve. As you enter the house from this end your eye quickly registers this glimpse before being drawn down to the gable end and grander prospect.
Considering the refinement of structure and detailing, it is interesting to learn that the house was put together by local builders. The roof is supported by a frame composed of iroko beams and rafters on steel columns in iroko casing so that the structural confines of the interior -- a single volume -- are strongly articulated. At the back eastern end of the room, a free-standing structure provides a kitchen from which an elegant stainless-steel chimney rises through the roof. Painted with a pale wash and exposed on all sides to the elements, the interior suggests both the solidity and vulnerability of boats. P.M.
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|Publication:||The Architectural Review|
|Article Type:||Brief Article|
|Date:||Apr 1, 2002|
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