Folding Farm House

Folding Farm House

Box Urban
Dublin Mountains, Ireland
Private Houses
Paul Tierney

Folding Farm House

Box Urban as Architects

This replacement dwelling is set into a north facing hill side with panoramic views of Dublin city. The site is bounded on the south by a wooded landscape. The house is constructed using a prefabricated timber-framepanel systemincorporating full-height glazing affording views to the north, while light penetration from the south is manipulated through roof lights and strategic openings.

The building plays between sunken spaces and framed views to the landscape. The typical spatial hierarchy is inverted;providing sleeping accommodation on the lower levelwhile living spaces occupy the upper floor. The lower floor is arranged around a stone terrace to the North and a sunken area to the south, cut into the hillside, which allowssouth light to enter the space and informs the upper level entrance.The front door is approached under a cantilevered overhang and the sunken courtyard is passed, providing a view to below, before entering the building.

The form is articulated by a folding plane orientated about a north south axis, which responds to the topography of the site to morph between; floor, terrace, wall and roof plates at all levels.

The lower floor is segregated into separate bedroom and bathroom cells giving views across the hillside to Dublin Bay. The longer axis runs from North to South in to the hillside. To the north a glazed corridor, provides views to the East, ordered by the rhythm of the timber frame structure. This corridor shields and provides access to the bedrooms and bathroom cells. To the south a playroom and studio space are located with a concealed staircase to the rear which provides access to the hillside at the upper level of the driveway.The short axis runs across the hill to the West and has full-height North-facing glazed doors which open directly on to the stone terrace.

The upper floor is a L-shaped in plan to provide an upper terrace which further accentuates the views to the North from the living and dining space and provides an expansive outdoor social space. An additional smaller outdoor terrace is provided off the kitchen by a balcony which protrudes to the east. The configuration of the upper floor identifies the main living area as a complete open space which can be adapted by sliding screens to divide the living and dining areasand pivot doors which fold away to reveal the playroom. This allows the house to function and adapt as required by occupancy. The sliding screens are stored in a central core element which contains the central internal staircase and a fireplace. The more serviceable spaces, of utility, and bathrooms are discreetly positioned and concealed within the space and timber shelving walls are detailed to provide functional storage while informing the spatial arrangement.

Two storey voids make a physical connection between spaces at both levels andnatural light is brought deep into the building through the careful positioning of high level windows at double height spaces and large rooflights over stairwells. Smaller windows are used in more intimate spaces to create framed views of the landscape beyond.

The timber frame structure is wrapped externally with a proprietary insulation and rendering system. High performance thermal and solar-reflecting glazing in timber frames slide open to make a direct connection between the internal and external spaces. A wood burning stove and boiler were installed and all internal spaces are provided with under floor heating. A heat exchange system is used to provide fresh air to the interior.

The client had a strong desire to use timber frame construction to provide a spacious family home on an exposed but scenic hillside site. The design brief was to provide an environmentally sustainable building in a resilient built form informed by its context.The design intent was to provide a building of architectural quality informed by best practice in lifetime and sustainable design with a robust spatial hierarchy.

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