The British Homes Awards

WATERFALL, COUNTY CORK

Waterfall is a small village in the green belt to the south of Cork City that has grown largely with ribbon development and suburban estate-style housing. Developer Fleming Group’s scheme of 42 houses offered an opportunity to deliver something different: a low-density project that responded to its rural context and the landscape while also fulfilling a demand for energy-conscious large detached houses close to the city. For scheme designer O’Mahony Pike Architects, the agricultural characteristics of the 10.5 hectare site with its fields, hedgerows and adjacent farmyard, suggested the use of traditional Irish field patterns as a model for subdivision of the land. This resulted in an organic arrangement of housing clusters within the existing field pattern, generally comprising three to six homes. The approach created identifiable community groups, with the cul-de-sacs as shared semi-public spaces connecting the surrounding houses. There are four main house types in the scheme, ranging from 250 sq m to 345 sq m in area. The design of the buildings draws on the scale, form, language and materials of vernacular rural architecture. The shallow-plan pitched roof forms and occasional barrel vaulted roof are familiar in the Cork landscape. Walls are of painted render and roofs are of natural slate and zinc. Stone walling and planted earthen bank boundaries complete the limited palette of materials and complement the existing hedgerows. The homes are designed to benefit from passive solar gain. Living spaces open onto south-facing gardens, while northern elevations have smaller openings. The shallow plan forms allows cross-ventilation. The houses are constructed from prefabricated and pre-insulated steel frame. A high level of airtightness was achieved, which required careful integration of building services. In addition, active measures such as solar panels and heat recovery systems were proposed to achieve a high energy rating for the homes.

ARCHITECT:

O Mahony Pike
Address:
The Chapel
Mount Saint Annes
Milltown
Dublin 6
Ireland
Tel: 00353 1 202 7400
Website: www.omp.ie
Contact: John O Mahony

HOMEBUILDER:

Fleming Group
Address:
New Cork Road
Bandon
Co. Cork
Ireland
Tel: 00353 2388 20600
Website: www.fleminggroup.ie
Contact: Pat Loughlan