Windhover house by Ailtireacht Architects | Dezeen

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Windhover house by Ailtireacht Architects

Dublin architects Ailtireacht have completed the extension of a Victorian house, designed to retain views of the garden from the original building.

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The zinc roof is broken down into multiple levels, its angle varying across the new structure.

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See also our previous story about Ailtirecht, Matilde House.

Photographs are by Paul Tierney.

Here's some text from the architects:


The owners of this double-breasted Victorian House approached us to provide an additional large contemporary space for the needs of their family, more informal, relaxed and playful than the spaces of the main house.

The Windhover

The windhover is a hovering bird, wings quivering and tense, its motion controlled and suspended in a moment of concentrated energy.

The typography of the site and the maintenance of the garden views from the main house establish the geometries of the roof of the extension, its form set and poised against the elements, its undercroft contorts into a shelter for the stuff of contemporary daily life.

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The roof hovers over an orthogonal expanse of Italian granite, the remaining glazed enclosures opening to link the garden to the space and reinforce the overall form of the roof structure and provide transparency for what is quite a large structure set against the period set piece.

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At certain moments the roof steps down to kiss the ground, anchoring the space and framing the set piece views form the original period structure, it folds further along the axis of the site, tilting up and down against the main house.

The back wall of the return, which originally acted as a visual barrier to the garden beyond is removed and on entering into the new space the roof billows above and the garden opens in front of you.

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Then, in the next moment of your minds eye the bird is off again, balancing forces on the air, turning, stretching, folding and extended, again and again, high in the sky.

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Ailtireacht Information

Founded, in 2002, Ailtireacht is a young design practice specialising in high quality contemporary architecture. Constantly pursuing excellence in the design process rather than any architectural typology. For us the process of architectural practice is more important than any particular architectural style; the design narrative for a project developing as a synthesis between the client, site, brief and budget, creating its own language, each project setting a milestone along the timeline of the practice.

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The intellectual design rigour of each project is a thread connecting and interweaving the varying facets of architectural practice into a symbiotic whole. Our projects initial narrative is often apparent before a client or a site, once fed by the client’s brief and innovative capacity, the process is always about pushing the projects limits and expectations.

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Constantly analysing the quotidian, searching for a different of perception to excite, challenge and explore, whether the brief is big or small. Throughout, inventively combining traditional and new materials and construction techniques to create inspiration. We relish each corner and harness the unexpected juxtapositions to alter space and ones sensory perception.

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The concept’s development is then tested in the act of drawing and the making of card models, with 3-dimensional and photorealistic representations ensuring clarity of intention throughout, exploring the project in greater detail until the final representation be it built or unbuilt.

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Design: Allister O'Cadhain
Collaborators: Fiona Hughes, Andrew Brady, Grainne Daly

Photography: Paul Tierney