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House on Blacksod Bay

Three sandstone wings protect an inner courtyard from fierce coastal winds at this seaside house in Ireland by Tierney Haines Architects. The client desired a cottage that could be used as either a quiet winter hideaway or a summer holiday home for a large extended family. Located on the Atlantic coastline, the house is exposed to extreme weather and a corrosive environment. The client wanted to take advantage of the views but provide some protection from the rain and wind.

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© Stephen Tierney

The architects divided the house into four rectilinear volumes organized around a courtyard, which serves as the main entrance. Much like the modest local farmhouses in the area, the 28-inch-thick walls are built of rugged sandstone with a timber frame and raft foundations.

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© Stephen Tierney

In the winter, the two-story unit, containing three bedrooms, kitchen, dining, bathrooms, and living areas, can be closed off from the other unused spaces to conserve energy. The materials are simple: the local Lacken sandstone covers the floors, and limed oak appears on doors, window trim, and interior paneling. Curtains and blinds are undyed linen.

House-on-Blacksod-Bay-By-Tierney-Haines-Architects-04-801x1200 House on Blacksod Bay / Tierney Haines Architects

© Stephen Tierney

The house is BER A rated for energy using 320mm cellulose insulation, HRV ventilation, geothermal heating and taking benefit from its south facing aspect.

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© Stephen Tierney

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© Stephen Tierney

Tierney Haines Architects:

This family home on Blacksod Bay in west Mayo takes its inspiration from local farms and the small courtyard enclosures they make. The house faces south to the sea that is a mere 30 metres away, the courtyard form provides shelter in a location where it is difficult to use planting.

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© Stephen Tierney

The dwelling’s heavy stone walls anchor the building in its rugged setting and give protection against the severe weather. This is a house for large family gatherings with the kitchen at the heart of the house. In the Winter the two storey block can be closed off for the immediate family while in Summer the house expands for the many visitors. Access from the courtyard and circulation through the house are orientated with constant reference to the views of the open sea, islands, beach – a two hundred degree panorama.

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© Stephen Tierney

The materials selected mirror the qualities of the site and were chosen to weather and age, sandstone, limed oak, zinc. The local Lacken sandstone is as hard as granite, has a warm variety of tone and brings continuity from exterior to interior. The rough drystone wall is refined by cut stone lintels and sills which lead to the use of a similar finish internally on both walls and floors.

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© Stephen Tierney

Project Data:

Project name: House on Blacksod Bay
Location: Blacksod Bay, Mayo, Ireland
Coordinates: 54.142743,-9.957283

  • Type By Characteristic: Holiday House, Green & Sustainable House
  • Type By Site: Ocean House, Countryside / Suburb House
  • Type By Size: Medium House – (201 sqm – 450 sqm)
  • Type By Materials: Stone House

Site Area: 7 acres
Project Area: 450 sqm / 5,000 sq.ft
Status: Completed
Completion Year: August 2012

The people:

Client / Owner / Developer: Private
Architects: Tierney Haines Architects – 96 Mount Albany, Newtownpark Avenue, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland
Project Architect: Stephen Tierney and Sandy Rendel
Project Team: Stephen Tierney, James Casey, Gabriella Regina, Sandy Rendel, Alex Doran, Amy Fitzgerald
Engineer: EDPM, Frank Endicott, Alan Guildea
Lighting Design: Contemporary Lighting Solutions, James Hornsby
Landscape: Nicola Haines
General contractor: Naughton Builders
Text Description: © Courtesy of Tierney Haines Architects, archrecord
Images: © Tierney Haines Architects, Stephen Tierney

Materials & Suplier:

Structural system: Timber frame – A-Frame timber frames Ltd.
Exterior cladding:

  • Masonry: Lacken Sandstone by Naughton Builders
  • Wood: Oak, Geraghty Joinery Ltd. Galway, Ireland

Roofing: Tile/shingles: Natural slate
Windows: Metal frame – Schuco anodized aluminum windows by Alucraft Ltd. Dublin
Glazing: Skylights – Neo, Rooflight company
Doors: Wood doors – Oak, Geraghty Joinery Ltd. Galway, Ireland
Interior finishes: Wall coverings – Oak, Geraghty Joinery Ltd. Galway, Ireland
Lighting: Interior ambient lighting – Contemporary Lighting Solutions, Dublin Ireland

Location Map:

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House on Blacksod Bay / Tierney Haines Architects
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