Sleeping Giant, Family House by O’Donnell + Tuomey in IrelandFebruary 9th, 2009 - Posted in Home Design Ideas
The Sleeping Giant, the large family house is located in Killiney, Co Dublin, Ireland. This home design was designed by O’Donnell + Tuomey, a Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) European Award. This living in nature’s gallery wins the Building Category and Overall Award in the Irish Concrete Society Awards. The Sleeping Giant house, 500 sq m was designed to connect the given (foreground) complexities of a rocky outcrop site with more distant (background) views to the sea and the mountains. The house wraps around a sheltered terraced garden to the west, sets back to protect an existing granite rock garden to the east and opens out to face the horizon to the south. Sequences of half-level floors step across the sloping site under cover of a cranked and folded concrete shell roof.
This large, detached house for an Irish family newly returned from the UK has huge architectural ambition, introducing to a domestic context a contemporary aesthetic, folding planes, topographic metaphor, more common in major public buildings. Externally, it is designed to respond to the topography, the seaside views and the local rocky outcrops: a considerable challenge. The house is very much a part of its landscape. The apparent randomness of the shapes results from an unusually relaxed approach from architects for whom subtle control is more typical. However order is restored by the way in which the external cladding and structural materials are used, the granite base, followed by lime render, topped by the massive concrete roof slab and between, the playful planes of glass.
The clients’ brief was to design a home for them and their children to live in on their return from London. The most distinctive and challenging aspect of this is the faceted concrete roof which is inspired by the granite rock formation around it. From the outside it reads like another outcrop. As the house is approached from above the view of the roof is particularly important. The concrete sparkles in the sunlight. The chambered concrete roof is also exposed on the inside to give an angled, tent-like ceiling which reflects light throughout the day. The granite chips give a soft glow to the flowing spaces.
The building really comes alive inside, where the architects’ extremely complex plan and cross section of intersecting triangular and polygonal planes, not a right angle in sight, creates a warren of cave-like rooms. This is a building with geography, in which the eye is thrown this way and that. The client, while not expecting such an ambitious house, is delighted with it, and her children happily regard the place as a secret world. The quality of materials and detailing, the concrete and extensive joinery especially, is excellent, all the more so considering the speed of construction.
The kitchen and living room walls are fully glazed with heavy timber frames along their Southern and Eastern edges. The concrete ceiling appears light on these sides. Its tilted angles emphasize the horizontal line of the distant sea horizon. The roof floats clear of the internal walls of the house with a series of glazed clerestories allowing daylight and views to penetrate the depth of the house.
The building is a reinforced concrete construction with solid granite outer walls forming a base, and lime render on the walls above. The concrete roof wraps and is anchored by an exposed insitu concrete chimney and rests on lines of slender steel columns. The concrete roof is finished with a hand applied stiff granite screed which echoes the crease-lines in the cranked concrete structure below. Environmentally friendly GGBS cement lightens the shade of the concrete.