This sustainable development of 42 houses (total floor area 18106m2) on a 10.5 Hectare/ 27 acre site in the greenbelt to the south of Cork City, was an opportunity to deliver a low-density energy-efficent project that responds in a sensitive manner to both the rural village context and the landscape, whilst fulfilling demand for large detached houses in close proximity to the city.
The agricultural characteristics of the site, with its gently sloping topography, triangular geometry, its hedgerows, drainage channels and adjacent farmyard, suggested the use of traditional Irish field patterns as a model for subdivision of the lands. This resulted in an organic arrangement of housing clusters within the existing field pattern, generally comprising three to six dwellings, thus creating identifiable community groups, with the cul-de-sacs as shared semi-public spaces connecting the surrounding houses. There are 4 dwelling types between 250m2 to 345m2, each with a separate garage.
The design of the buildings draws on the scale, form, language and materials of vernacular rural architecture. Stone walling and planted earthen bank boundaries complement the existing hedgerows, which have been retained and used to define housing and public open space areas in the scheme and also protect and enhance wildlife in the area, thereby increasing the ecological value of the site.
Dwellings have been designed to benefit from passive solar gain with south facing living spaces onto private gardens, with smaller openings to northern elevations of the shallow plan forms allowing cross-ventilation and good levels of natural light.
Walls are of painted render and roofs of natural slate and zinc, with detailing influenced by the simplicity of traditional rural buildings. All materials are highly durable and require minimal maintenance. Construction is of pre-insulated steel frame and blockwork outer leaf, achieving an A2 / Code 5 rating under the BRE green guide to Specification.The steel insulated panels are produced in a nearby factory and have insulation fused between and outside the steel studs to form a complete insulated and airtight barrier.