Normal House

t o b Architect, Dublin, 2018



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Since beginning to practice in 2013 I have enjoyed making domestic work at the lower end of construction costs; small interventional domestic project for young people of modest means

The early 20th Century terrace houses of the inner Dublin suburbs are particularly enjoyable to work with as they are relatively well built, composed of a mass concrete external envelope that allows new opes to be cut with relative ease, and free spanning timber floors that allow almost all internal walls to be pulled about. I suspect I will no longer continue to pursue this type of work , as in the last few instances it has proved more difficult to deliver projects on the the tight budgets that young people moving into the area have after purchasing the property.

Between the rising cost of purchasing a property and the rising cost construction, there is little room for an additional spend on Architecture. We are now once again in an ‘abnormal’ market, and pessimistically it would appear that once again that Architecture is only for the well-off. Normal House is straightforward. It extends to the side and rear of the house to provide a utility area, wc, and new kitchen. On the fist floor the extension crosses the back wall of the existing house to create two bay window study areas to the tiny existing bedrooms. The internal ground floor walls are removed and replaced with two large sliding partitions.

The project began around the same time as a trip to London to visit the social housing of Neave Brown, and that inspiring trip greatly influenced the materials and layout of the house. The extension is built in block and wrapped in external insulation. The use of external insulation allows some playfulness on the rear elevation where the layered depth of insulation is cut into to form recesses and the oblique angle on the rear facade. A high level roof light is shared between the utility and the kitchen at connecting corner.

Photography by t o b Architect


  • Begun: Nov 2017
  • Completed: Jul 2018
  • Floor area: 95m2
  • Sector: Residential
  • Total cost: £147,262
  • Funding: Private
  • Tender date: Jun 2017
  • Address: Dublin, D07, United Kingdom

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