A little goes a long way

I was flicking through a back issue of the Architectural Association of Ireland’s annual awards (as you do) when I came across this little gem designed by Noel J Brady. A well crafted and modern (but not showily “perfect”) little box creates a distinct space for reading and, I think, writing, at the border between an original room and an underused portion of the back garden, in a terraced house on South Circular Road.

 

There are a few things that I think are really fantastic about this Architects Design. I like that it doesn’t judge the existing building but just nestles into it in a self-possessed kind of way. It seems to add to the original house without taking anything away from it. The old concrete block wall, the various pipes on the return, they are just accepted for what they are and all the emphasis is put on making a kind of comfortable “room within a room”, to which the owner can retreat without isolating his or herself from the rest of the house. A good window can often create this intimate effect, and it really seems to have been achieved here. It is always tempting to go further, to seek to “fix” more and more of the original house, and this project shows the benefits of resisting this temptation. Alteration to the original house is limited to enlarging the existing window opening. That’s it – no more required. And then the new addition is carefully formed to replace any lost daylight, again in a very clever way that speaks of lots of thought leading to a simple and understated action. This micro-extension packs a lot of function and a lot of charm into a small space.

 

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