House for a Gardener: Hillsborough

House for a Gardener: Hillsborough

The house is located on an elevated ridge at a point where the suburban typologies of Hillsborough give way to the rural. This offered the potential for the dwelling to utilise and reshape the site to create its own intimate private landscape sphere, while selectively drawing in the larger landscape of the surrounding hills and downs of the Lagan Valley. The topography was utilized to invert the usual organisation of domestic spaces, creating an elevated outdoor courtyard room on the upper level, through which the house is entered. It is around this space - simultaneously a terrace, courtyard, and outdoor room - that the social patterns of everyday life are orientated towards the larger landscape.

Beneath this courtyard platform, the private spaces of the house are discretely embedded in a more grounded and secluded landscape. This landscape has been reshaped in visual and spatial continuity with these lower rooms through manipulations of ground-form and planting which as it matures will amplify this spatial definition.

A sheltered micro-landscape and climate is formed in the courtyard room by the folding, enveloping roof-scape throughs shifts in scale and transparency. The room is intended to intensify the residents’ experience of changing weather conditions through the seasons. Its roof-scape and integrated growing structures allow vegetation to embellish the interiors as an ever changing sumptuous finish; It frames rainfall, which greens the middle section of the courtyard’s grass-paved surface; And it celebrates the changing solar effects through the latticed shadows cast by the exposed roof structure. The courtyard room is the gathering space and social fulcrum of the house. The flexible ‘plus one’ unit has an independent address to the courtyard while still being coupled discretely at the lower level to the private areas of the house. The courtyard room gives the dwelling a generosity of scale, while being modest in the size of internal space shaped compactly through the design of integrated joinery.

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House for a Gardener: Hillsborough