Private House Flynn Mews

Private House Flynn Mews

ODOS architects Lorcan O'Herlihy Architects

Although the city of Dublin is lowrise and low-density by European standards, much of its city centre is comprised of large, grand houses facing grand streets or squares such as Merrion Square or Pembroke Road. While presenting a grand front to the public, the rear of these houses was reserved for service access, deliveries, and coach and mews houses for servants along cobbled and paved lanes. Since the 1980s, and especially in recent boom-time years, these mews and coach houses built in the back gardens have been converted, demolished and rebuilt by some of Ireland’s best architects. In many cases they have become as desirable as the larger houses out front.

This house is one such mews, built at the back of a Georgian terraced house on leafy Pembroke Road on the south side of the city. The story goes that, when the original house was built in 1847, the owners of the house wanted something to look out at, so a neoclassical false front was constructed to mask the elevation of the more utilitarian mews house at the end of the garden.

The front house and mews are currently owned by an Irish family who resides in America. They had originally intended to build a new house to live in when visiting Ireland. The original mews house was demolished, but planning laws required the neoclassical front to be kept and also required that any new house be clearly contemporary in its ideas, form and materials. The resulting house, which was designed by Irish-American architect Lorcan O’ Herlihy and supervised during construction by Darrell O’ Donoghue of ODOS architects in Dublin, certainly lives up to the planners’ expectations.

The Reynaers CS 77 solution is used for the doors

Sense of luxury

 

Leaving the leafy lane, you pass through a stone wall, similar to many stone walls along the lanes in this part of town. However, once you come through the black metal gates, you are greeted by a radically striking and original black board marked concrete façade. This is a 270 square metre house in two parts. The first part has a deep white plaster recess placed diagonally opposite a huge glass window. This white recess acts like a grand and generous porch. Moving through the porch, you are directed to the rear, still outdoors, through the neoclassical façade, which now forms the rear façade to this first part of the house. Entering the second volume, you are presented with a tall, light-filled space with the kitchen, dining, and living areas, and, cut into the ground below, two bedrooms. There is a bedroom to the rear and a large family reception room on the ground floor. Inside, the black concrete is used for the beautiful ceilings, while white marble and zebrawood give the interior an extraordinary sense of luxury.

A lot of glass used with the Reynaers CW 50-SC solution

Mirror to itself

 

The Neoclassical façade has been left untouched, with the two volumes surrounding this façade and internally connected on the ground floor by a glass and metal bridge. This makes it possible to move between the inside and outside across a private courtyard garden. The glass façade now reflects the original façade holding a mirror to itself in a playful way. It is a spatially clever and complex solution to a very challenging site; and the separation of the house into two volumes allows a lot of glass to be used, all using the Reynaers CW 50-SC solution finished in black for the windows and the CS 77 solution for the doors. The vent profile of the doors required a modification to allow the glass to be surface glued, making it frameless on the outside, flooding the house with light, and giving the entire house a remarkably clean and sophisticated look. The façade installer and the builder had worked together in the past, enabling a great level of cooperation and understanding of the building. This cooperation shows – the house at the rear is now every bit as grand as the house at the front of the property.

Fabricator: 
Eden Aluminium Ltd.
Architects: 
ODOS architects Lorcan O'Herlihy Architects
Location: 
Dublin, Ireland
Photographer: 
Enda Cavanagh
Other partners: 
Oikos Builders (General Contractors)