Seaside House, Co. Louth

‘Best House’, Irish Architecture Awards 2011

A new seaside house occupies the former site of a longstanding summer chalet with existing private access to a beach. Resonating with the scale and placement of neighbouring mobile homes, two untreated douglas fir timber enclosures rest on a cast concrete podium over a drift geology. Shelter unfolds between parallel wall planes to embrace views east over the Irish Sea and west over potato fields. Viewed from the upper coastal road the grass roofs assimilate into the patchwork of field enclosure.

A datum height of 2.1metres extends out to the external terraces forming shelter like the cap of a hat above which a continuous south facing clerestory window spans the living room, tracking the sun from morning to evening.

The plan is anchored by a central terrazzo fireplace and a roof lit spine hallway. Clerestory glazing internally above the built-in furniture brings reflected sunlight into the timber lined bedrooms and bathrooms. A counter level window in the kitchen affords a panoramic view north to the headland. A layer of reflective polished terrazzo is laid over the concrete podium and parallel to the horizon in a wave-like rhythm.

A coastal garden and raised planter afford privacy to the main bedroom and a sheltered evening terrace enjoys west sun and views of the horizon through the living room.  The large seaside family terrace is the focus for daily beach life; a place to gather and enjoy the sun or the shade.