Slieve Gullion House is in south Armagh looking south towards the world-renowned geological phenomenon that is the Ring of Gullion. The house is on the site of an old cottage, which is the ancestral homestead belonging to the client.
The brief for the project was to design a modern dwelling incorporating the latest in environmental design which would benefit from the views to the south, from the passive solar gain, and most importantly would integrate and sits comfortably with the existing cottage.
The Ring of Gullion consists of a satellite of hills surrounding the larger and central Slieve Gullion. This internationally renowned geological phenomenon was formed by a volcano eruption from Slieve Gullion where the overflowing lava formed a large dyke, or earth ring, surrounding the mountain. Millions of years later during the ice age, flowing ice glaciers removed large parts of the surrounding ring. The parts that remained from this ring are now the satellite of hills, which constitute the Ring of Gullion, with the much higher and larger Slieve Gullion mountain at the centre. Slieve Gullion and the surrounding hills were mapped and the drawing was superimposed onto the site with Slieve Gullion positioned on the location of the old ancestral cottage. The mapped surrounding hills then formed an enclosure around the cottage, which became the basis for the enclosing walls of the new dwelling.
This concept for the plan was then developed into three-dimensional forms by a series of development models, and the volume of the new dwelling was kept as unobtrusive as possible, with a gently sloping roof ascending away from the road towards the views and Slieve Gullion beyond. The plan, and design in general, is the least obtrusive to the existing cottage and metaphorically embraces it, thus accentuating its importance as the centre and entrance to the ensemble.
The ascending green and planted roof merges with the landscape, and the building forms a foreground to the distant views, creating a new type of ground line instead of a new skyline, thus embedding the project into the ancient landscape.
The walls facing the landscape are finished in timber, evoking the ancient and former Irish forests, while the cottage and road-side walls are finished in a dry dash with granite pebbles from local Mourne Granite, to match the old cottage.
Living Design Spring 2017