A House by FKL Architects



Dublin architects FLK have completed a residence called A House in Dublin, Ireland.


The building comprises two stacked, diagonally-staggered, concrete volumes.


"The house is an exploration of diagonal space within an orthogonal form and the possibilities of integrating environmental concerns at a fundamental level," says Diarmaid Brophy of FLK.


"A concrete tube provides the structural and spatial organisation and encloses the public areas of the house," Brophy continues. "Divided by joinery elements, the tube of space is twisted between ground and first floor to allow a relationship to the garden and daylight from above."


Interior surfaces are made of sandblasted concrete and timber.


Photographs by Verena Hilgenfeld.


Here's some more information from FLK:



This house, a home for a family of five is an exploration of the possibilities of integrating environmental concerns at a fundamental level within a contemporary idiom.


The site was chosen for its proximity to schools, local shops, recycling facilities and work, allowing a daily life independent of the car or public transport. Located on a mews lane in Rathmines it is sufficiently large to support a family over a lifetime. The former back garden of a two storey over garden level Victorian terraced house, it is accessed from a lane to the south with the garden to the north.


Concerns of establishing a relationship with the garden and maximising daylight penetration in a North facing building where East & West facades are blank, dictated the organisation of family rooms at ground and first floor connected by a narrow void. This layout is expressed architecturally as a “slipped tube” of space, coded materially in sandblasted concrete, stratified from front to rear, divided programmatically with joinery boxes. A strong visual and spatial connection is established between the kitchen/dining room at ground level and the study on the first floor capitalising on day lighting and glimpsed views.


This move creates diagonal visual relationships that extend spatial awareness to the limits of the depth, breadth and length of the house. Arranged around this conceptually manipulated tube, are the less public rooms: garage, utility room and WC at ground level and children’s bedrooms and bathroom at first floor.


A transverse shift in section, across the plan pushes the children’s bedrooms up by 300mm to allow daylight from the Study on the west at first floor to pass through to the dining room and kitchen to the east at ground floor. This shift gives additional height to study and kitchen and more modest scale for private areas without increasing the overall scale of the building. A set back at first floor to the rear maintains separation from the houses to the rear and increases the amount of daylight to the garden.


The layout allows for an independent or guest bedroom suite at ground level and gives flexibility to accommodate change in family circumstances. The modest garden will provide space to grow vegetables and fruit while the roofs are covered in sedum to replace the building footprint.


The exterior in common with its neighbours is restrained, choosing a formal expression of the relationships between internal spaces and elevation. Windows are floor to ceiling drawing on the Georgian tradition, allowing daylight to penetrate deep into the plan. Set within a tight urban context of protected structures, the relationship with external spaces is not founded on an expectation of privacy externally but on diagonal relationships that extend the perspective to distant views and provided a backdrop to the internal activity.


The concrete exposed internally is sandblasted to accentuate the liquid nature of the material and to record the process of construction. The front and rear elevations are vented rain screen facades clad with TRESPA from William Cox, a wood based cladding panel chosen for it’s environmental credentials. These facades are supported on independent laminated timber framing -from sustainable managed sources- with all opening sections clad with TRESPA and lined with TriIso multifoil insulation to maintain the u-value of the façade. The Ironmongery from ADA is manufactured by Olivari from Bio Chrome an environmentally aware stainless steel.

A negotiated tendering process allowed a constructive dialogue between the design team and a committed and proactive contractor which translated into viable and cost effective materials and detailing incorporating environmental concerns from design through to construction.

Posted on Friday April 17th 2009 at 12:12 am by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • nice renders!

  • scruces

    WOW – stunning.

  • rodger

    i do love this kind of project when done well. there is a rigorous modernist sensibility at work here that doesn’t seem at all dated.
    its also brutal in its form making and beautiful with its light. these aggressive forms haven’t lost their human scale either.

    i hope they installed underfloor heating.

  • inside : outrageous!!!
    outside : out of date!!!

  • oh wow….beautiful!

  • Anders

    Super Slick!! I can see elements of Louis Kahn in there somewhere… maybe it’s the concrete!! : )

  • Indi

    Nice spaces, but why the classic architectural photography? It will look just as good lived-in. Show us the books lamps, rugs and shoes, as well as the allowable design classic furniture.

  • stan

    the contrast between the facade and the interior seems odd to me…i like the interior though!! espacially that wonderful staircase

  • Ruben Borup

    Love the interior. Good texture with respect for the materials. Excellent.

  • One

    NIce and sensitive, …

  • lu

    Very intersting and so simple. I would really love to live in this house.
    The place gives you a real relaxation. The dramma of the natural lighting is so inspiring.

    well done FLK.

  • bill nolan

    shame about the outside. looks like a mental institution. concrete would have looked much better.

  • love it.. simplicity at its finest.. look at the quality of light. gorgeous spaces and fine materials.. could use some warmness here and there.. anyone enjoy a nice simple rug anymore?

  • G

    Love it. Nice simple, crisp, with simple materials, and not a plasterboarded wall in sight! At least I hope the white elements are joinery, painted white….

  • Ed

    Interior volumes, lighting and materials are very nice. Cant help feeling a little let down by the facade though which feels a bit flat and generic compared to the internal spaces

  • mil

    what a liked house – could be a showroom of a funiturestore

  • yimyim

    Images are very nice – but after reading the text I have to say I can see almost NO relationship between the two. Perhaps Dezeen pasted the wrong text in… :P

  • LPAL

    This is frickin’ bangin’

  • I really like this, good spaces and materials.

  • Adf

    Where is the tube ?

  • DublinerfromDC

    Interior spaces are looking great, but to put environmental concerns as a center point of the reflexion and at the end to use concrete…. there’s a problem somewhere

  • martin

    nice office!

  • snow

    I really like the black borders around the windows on the exterior, not a fan of the grey panels though. Interior is fantastic.

  • hfz

    love it. elegant, seamless interfaces between concrete and wood. use of natural lighting is just brilliant. (pun intended) the exterior finishings totally doesnt speak about the inside. looks like as if the interior is that of another place.

  • the inside is amazing. concrete is used in perfection combined with timber.
    the outside lacked a bit of conection with the rough inside.

  • slater

    beautiful interior, but it may have some echo problems, no? I think once it is truely lived in and there are rugs, books, furniture, that will be less of a problem.

  • A

    Do these people own anything?…..

  • The outside is absolutely that of an office, the 80s prefab kind you might set up at a construction site. The inside is how I would imagine a holding facility for the war crimes tribunal. Not severe enough to be considered inhumane, but very clearly an involuntary sort of confinement.

  • Terry Glenn Phipps

    So this where the C.I.A. and MI6 have been disappearing their rendition “clients”. It does perfectly capture that Abu Ghraib je ne sais quoi.

    Terry Glenn Phipps

  • casual observer

    a shame they couldn’t tidy for the photo’s, little bits of crap really stand out in a museum.

    such a controlled and composed space has lost much of it’s charm with such ill considerd, wide angle photography… pure concrete and light with a dash of ikea plastic boxes thrown in .. live the dream !

    oh and Phalaenopsis is for non botanists and buy as you go home owners.

    you have to be really on message and tight as hell to compete in this market, seems they went average at the last moment.

    finish it, photograph it, find something else to do.

    i find myself aching for some of the hope built into Creek Vean, where did we all go wrong.

  • Interior and exterior has nothing to do one to each other. They seem to belong to different houses. Interior is great, sensitive combination of concrete and wood.

  • mikaël

    it’s the nicest funeral home I have ever seen

  • nices interior spaces

  • Salvadore

    i like everything about it. i like even the exterior and the photos.

  • Rebecca

    Interior: yes, exterior: no.

  • Richie

    I agree with what seems to be the prevailing ‘interior – nice, exterior – dated and inappropriate looking’ sentiment.. I like the impression of interconnectedness and spaces at different levels slipping past one another that the interior photos convey, but those grey industrial cladding panels really are a bit painful.

  • andrew g

    This is a really fantastic house, well done FKL!

  • marcus

    good stuff……an ambitious home design delivered!

  • Um, do any of the things that look like windows actually open? It looks rather like a sealed commercial building to me.

  • Joe

    Loving the staircase!

  • Matt

    lol great understanding of lighting
    however, the stairs look lil fragile tho
    wonder if its gna stably support fat ppl

  • Kate

    Looks like you shot this on the one sunny day that Dublin gets.What happens when its gets dark? Where are the light sources then?From the few recesses I can spot I presume?

  • Wonderful spaces, great angles. What keeps it from feeling like you are living in a prison, or a basement? If there is no sunlight, there is NO warmth. I like concrete as much as the next guy, but I want to see the lived-in touches to make my true assessment. Otherwise, it’s an eccentric bachelor pad.

  • kayz

    good house!!

  • zno

    Does anybody know what the flush-glazing system is? .. love the clean lines!

  • bengbeng

    this was nice combination between expose concrete and wood timber.
    the proportion also superb