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Situated in the small hamlet of Fallahogey in Co.Londonderry is a dwelling designed to integrate into its surroundings, deal intelligently with the climate whilst satisfying the client’s request of a home which truly reflected their desires, aspirations and lifestyle. The new residence cultivates the site by allowing the existing conditions to influence its form and construction, whilst enabling us to create thoroughly modern architecture that adopts the spirit of the vernacular without resorting to mimicking its forms and construction.
In 2003 the directors of McGarry-Moon Architects purchased a rural site within the hamlet of Fallahogey, four miles from Kilrea. Their aim was to design a classic modern house, sympathetic to its context. It was awarded the RIBA National Award in 2009, as well as the RSUA Under £750,000 award, and Wood NI Award in 2010.
The site consisted of an unused farmyard with a single storey corrugated roofed cottage with outhouse. The existing cottage nestled in a sheltered position using the topography as a natural shield against the weather. Aided by the existing vegetation the cottage sat comfortably within this rural setting.
The design of the replacement dwelling is deceivingly simple, comprising of 6 number steel portals at 4.75 metre centres spanning 9 metres creating a large flexible space. The columns remain exposed on the lower floor with a rendered plinth sliding behind on the north and east facades. The plinth has been pulled back a bay at the west end, creating a covered parking area. At first floor level the columns are wrapped with an untreated Western Red Cedar rain screen cladding. The roof is clad in standing seam Rheinzink, and with its curved ridge, reflects the form often found in surrounding agricultural buildings. The south facade is entirely glazed with Iroko sliding doors on the lower level, above, sliding Western Red Cedar louvers guard against excessive solar gain. The detailing of the residence is precise but embellishment minimal, seeking a sense of connection with its rural roots.
The interior was developed as a series of spaces that flow into one another. As one space shifts into the next you get unexpected sight lines, creating a spatial richness. There are four main spaces on the ground floor for relaxing, food preparation and dining, all of which open onto the south facing patio and ponds. The first floor accommodates the master suite, two guest bedrooms and main bathroom. A studio is located to the east end of the first floor where a floating plane creates a multi purpose room at the highest point of the house.
The ground floor has a polished concrete screed with under floor heating within. This screed provides adequate thermal mass storing heat created by the glazed south façade. A 30kw biomass wood pellet boiler provides any backup heating required. The house has a positive input ventilation system enabling all windows to be without trickle vents.
Work commenced on site in December 2004 and the building has been occupied since July 2007. The project has been completed for a total of £350,000. Timescale and budget was due to the self-build nature of the project.
With the growth of their practice, McGarry-Moon Architects moved into a new studio in 2017, also on the Fallahogey site, which was recently awarded the RIBA Northern Ireland Award 2017, RIBA Northern Ireland Small Project of the Year Award 2017 and RIBA National Award 2017.