Natura in Victorian landscape
Architects: ODOS, Dublin
When the developer purchased two adjoining houses in Castlewood Avenue in Dublin 6, he was faced with huge challenges. One of the properties had been partially stripped out; both were in multiple units and were in terrible condition. The annexes of both had to be demolished and ODOS Architects were commissioned to design something to take their place. The creative solution was designed in three weeks and the developer was immediately struck by both the imagination and efficiency of the architects. In a period home, the central staircase was usually directed through the annexe, with bathrooms and small servant bedrooms on alternative turns. The annexes were therefore vital as the main traffic route through the house. The original annexe would also have had a role in providing light from the high and often decorative windows. Each of the matching ODOS designed annexes provides a striking feature that not only breaks with the tradition of the basic rectangular extension but creates new periscope-like addition to the parent building with a genuine independence of its own. They both appear to jut out at a steep incline from the rear walls with rooflines extended to mirror the original 1860s roof angles. The bases of the annexes are similarly angled giving the appearance of mid-air suspension. The up-cuts rise in parallel to the roofline above from the base of the original house to first floor level and are 'bridged' to the garden by a polished concrete platform that steps down to the lawn before winding around back into the kitchen.
Although the twin annexes each contain only a bathroom, a study and storage cupboards, the windows are strategically placed to provide maximum light into the entire house. The angled base at ground level facilitates the large window into the kitchen/dining area and in the mid-level bathroom and top room study, huge picture windows create a similar lighting effect. In order to help their case with the planners, architects David O'Shea and Darrell O'Donoghue of ODOS, explained that their design proposals exploited what had already existed in terms of the original annexe footprints, the roof angles and the grey Natura cladding from Tegral that matched the existing grey roof slates. The Natura cladding comprises high quality boards with matt varnish on grey through-coloured substrate bases, with UV-resistant and environmentally friendly colour pigments, several layers of pure acrylate coating and a hot film application. The subtle matt varnish of the Natura panels allows the natural texture of the fibre-cement substrate to show through. The Natura was supplied by Tegral pre-sized and with chamfered cuts.
As well as matching the traditional Victorian roofing materials, the Tegral Natura cladding accented by the smoked glass windows, provided a visual contrast to the period urban landscape of cement render and red and brown brick.
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