This house is a contemporary interpretation of the vernacular dwellings of this area of east Waterford. Adjoining Parkswood
House and local farmhouses provide inspiration for our design. The scale and design of the house has been set to be appropriate
to local tradition and setting.
The house is arranged in a vernacular clustered building form — which helps to reduce the overall scale of the house by the creation of a number of small elements. This cluster of buildings dictates circulation around the different elements of the building. It defines entrances to the site and to the buildings themselves.
The functions of the house are defined by the breaking down of the house into its different elements, i.e.
The building forms are informed and defined by the orientation of the site. The utility block is placed to the most north-easterly part of the site, as this is a non-habitable space and requires the minimum of heating and solar gain. As such, the use of this low amenity end of the site is ideal for such a function. The long house follows on this principle with glazing kept to a minimum on the north-east & north elevation to minimise heat loss through this cold elevation.
As the building turns to face from south-east to the west, the elevation begins to open to allow for the maximum utilisation
of natural light and solar heat gains and follows the daily passage of the sun and also allows the occupants of the
house to enjoy the surrounding views. The same considerations are taken on board in the design of the house from the
perspective of shelter from the northerly winds and the prevailing winds. This is created by the orientation of the
utility block to the north-east corner of the site and also the creation of natural tree shelters in this area. To
counteract prevailing winds, to the south-west of the site, is the creation of a wind break with both the planting
of native tree species, the reinforcement of existing hedgerow and also the creation of a planted berm to help form
shelter from the prevailing winds.
The sustainability approach to the house can best be described as minimal impact. The buildings are small forms which can
be built using either renewable or traditional local building methods. The scale of the buildings and the spans of
the structure and technology involved, are what would be typical of this area and of the history of vernacular building
in Ireland. As such, no building systems solution is required for this building and it can be built using both local
skills and materials wherever possible. The building orientation allows for minimal heat loss through the building
and also maximise passive solar gain. This is to enhanced by the use of high levels of thermal insulation, well in
excess of the current building regulations, to minimise the heating requirements of the building and by the use of
high performance glazing and door systems throughout. The heating requirements of the building are provided by use
of a ground source heat pump.
The material pallet which has been selected for the new house consist of materials which are the vernacular materials for
this area including: nap/lime plaster render finish; the use of natural slates to roof surfaces; the use of sandstone
walls to the garden walls of the house; and the use of timber to the joinery elements of the house, which would have
been used typically on these old farmhouses.