Onsite Breffni Terrace
Breffni Terrace, built in 1880 by O’Rourke builders (a local clan name), boast typical Victorian architecture. Parapets are replaced with expressed pitched roofs. Stucco work and fresh painted facades have been replaced with red brick. The development consists on fifteen houses, with one elaborately design ‘first’ house and the rest following in pair thereafter. The terrace is finished abruptly as if it could have potentially been extended for the further provision of houses.
Bullock is created by both carving terraces into the landscape and building terrace houses. The Dalkey quarries provide a strong tradition of molding the utilising the ground of this area. House are constructed by first creating a leveled terrace by manipulating the ground that can then be built on. This results in a community where terrace is common currency.
When approaching the design strategy of my site, I decided to apply the typology of the terrace house and terrace living to my site. To successfully navigate the steep slope across the site I began to think about the site as a single entity with no residual or unperscribed space.
I looked into the work of Neave Brown and the post-modernist residential architecture of London in the 1960’s and 70’s. Fleet road by Neave Brown draws on the need for continuity within a housing scheme, both spatial and temporal. The flow from public to private need to be carefully exploited while retaining the users expected experience of a dwelling. The eighteenth century terraced house was the perceived idea of a London house. The direct access from external public space to internal private was something that was accepted in city living, but this also suggests an idea of horizontal organisation oppose to vertical. This idea struck me in terms of applying my a terrace scheme to my steep site. That through horizontally manipulating three terrace strips that all units could retain a flow from public to semi-public to private to semi private all on one story.
The planning of Fleet Road proved pivotal in unlocking to potential of a terraced housing scheme across a steep site. The resulting compact style of dwelling became paramount in the ideals of elderly housing and the need for a neighbourly surveillance and communal spaces.
Accordia by McCreanor Lavington seeks to push the boundaries of the terrace unit. The power of retaining to parti-walls and manipulating a plan to allow both stacked internal and external spaces. I looked at this precedent in relation to pushing and pulling my plan across a series of terraced strips. The Accordia units are planned between what would traditionally be the main house and the Mews house. By viewing the site as one entity opposed to two you create a linear plan that incorporates external space on several level. A courtyard Sevillian style living begins to creep into the centre of the plan. This precedent helped me unlock the potential in linear plans running the width of my site. This allowed me to create single story units that with both a courtyard and external private space across one level of the site.
Studying terraced houses from the eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries allowed me successfully explore the potential of the parti-wall and viewing a site as a single entity. This resulted in a scheme that embodied my ideas of a community of care, where surveillance is desired, boundaries can be blurred and horizontal living needs to be tested. The architectural fabric across the site then becomes the element of care by mere habitation.
- Mark Swenarton (2012) Developing a new format for urban housing: Neave Brown and the design of Camden’s Fleet Road estate, The Journal of Architecture, 17:6,973-1007,
- Pearson, Peter. 1998. Between the mountains and the sea: Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown county. Dublin: O’Brien Press.