'Living in the Landscape'
A self sustaining business...
The proposed project will be self-sustaining in that the family will grow their own vegetables, and also run a small cookery school as a business, on the site
The questions we asked ourselves
- what does it mean to build in the landscape,
- is it with a heavy hand or a light touch,
- how much of an impact does or should it make
- how does one deal with the sloping site
- how does one make a home
- how do the other elements interact with the home, the site and the environment
- how to design a house for a young family
- how does one integrate the sustainable element into the overall design
- how to deal with public, semi public and private domains
- how to understand orientation & siting
sloped site in Kilkenny
The site would be carefully manipulated like a quarry revealing 3 large protruding bedrock, aesthetically associated by the house, the school and the dormitories.
Functions of the buildings should be separated but remain perfectly recognizable with the public landscape and roof 'energy garden' as a unifying element
The movement and 'archaeology like' exposure of the top soil to reveal & generate a 'topos' a new place to build the cooking school, family home and dormitories.
Lightness is represented in the form of the PV array 'energy garden' which sails over the newly discovered topos absorbing the suns energy, a visual icon from a far.
The 3 buildings breach from the soil towards the slope region of the site, maximizing the views over the valley.
Their somewhat nestled appearance within the landscape is to gain advantage of the sustainable thermal properties, while aesthetically representing the natural cluster arrangement of rural rocks within a field
The dialogue between the two conflicting aesthetic languages is the natural juxtaposition that exists between the 2 movements of rural architecture,
careful and considered, Vs the bold 'futurists' in sustainable intervention. This is intentional
ONE could argue aesthetic conflict exist within the overall design, by the very bold statement of the PV glazed array structure sailing over the incognito semi breached buildings.
An Rural Icon
Such a sustainable rural complex must become an Icon that represents the environment, modern construction, and sustainability into the 3rd Millennium
Due to its proximity and the sites history, water remains a strong presence for the site.
Conceptually the waters movement has revealed the once submerged rocks, now represented as the new building intervention. We feel it is therefore necessary to reinforce and celebrate the existing stream that runs through the site.
We introduce river activities, small boats and canoeing for the residence and local people to enjoy along with fishing for the cooking school and local farmers markets. Not forgetting the introduction of walking trails and viewing platforms for all to enjoy views of the river.
The river will also play a role in the sustainable features for the buildings within the site, for cooling and grey water harvesting.
Can sustainable architectural intervention be a visual Icon in a rural setting
We think so