12 Mar 2007

The following document is (subject to subsection 4.1.13 (i) (a) and 4.1.13 (i) (b), The Department of the Environment and Local Government’s ‘One of Rural Houses: A Guideline for Modern Living in the 1970s’ (updatesd1997), The National Spatial Strategy, the Regional Strategic Guidelines, The National Development Plan and Cork County Council Development Plan 2003 – 2008 (but including relevant elements of the Draft Development Plan) designed as an easy to read guide to good housing design. In simple clear, easy to read, user friendly language, this strategic interim assessment will attempt in simple language to assess developments in terms of Rural Housing Design in the context of the 21st century as well as developments in key strategic areas.  

It’s not often we get to blow our own trumpet, but we think you’ll be wowed (!) by some of the gorgeous houses we’ve selected for the strategic interim assessment in terms of their adherence to the aforementioned subsections and their contextual appropriateness. 

So let’s get right to it!

Who says traditional designs are boring?!!

In this fine example, the architect has shown great ingenuity in reinterpreting an icon of the Irish countryside: the ubiquitous hobnail-boot-abandoned-in-the-hedgerow that we all know and love. Through subtle reinterpretation of the massing of the boot, the verticality and overall proportion of the windows and the masses and masses of traditional lime mortar used on every possible surface, the architect has succeeded in blending traditional Irish forms in a subtle contemporary way. 

We say ‘Bravo’!

Who says contemporary designs don’t work for everyone?!! In this fine example, the architect demonstrates how boring, modernistical approaches can be enlivened through the introduction of nice curvy bits. Who wouldn’t want to leave?

Come on architects of Ireland. The standard has been set!


Who says sustainable buildings all have to look like feckin’ great wigwams?!! In this fine example, the architect celebrates the use of renewable heat sources with a bold reference to that symbol of natural heat production: the dragon!  

Who, by the by, because he has very small feet in terms of the context of the rest of him has a very small carbon footprint! Knock out!


Who says houses that look like spaceships don’t have a place in the rural Irish context?!! In this fine example, the architect rose to the challenge of protecting a rare breed of bacteria by standing the house on stilts! But notice all that lime mortar! And the appropriate windows in terms of the context of their shapes! Not to mention the curvy roof which takes its form from a traditional Neolithic burial ground. 

Sorting out the wheat from the chaff can be a challenge for the local authority planner in terms of the context of deciding what constitutes good architectural design.

 The trick is to look at these things with a trained eye…

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