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Farmyard at Roslea, County Fermanagh

A Kildare Perspective, 2007

Creating an external space by the use of existing buildings

The house is situated off a quiet country road on a gently sloping site with views of the surrounding hills.  The site contained an 18th-century cottage, with outhouses relating to a farmyard. The new house is positioned opposite and parallel to the cottage, thereby forming an enclosed informal courtyard with the outhouses to the east and west. The setting is of rolling landscape with a backdrop of mature ash trees and hedgerows to complete the cluster.

The house has a simple narrow plan form running east-west, incorporating the change in level across the site.  This long rectilinear form is roofed in a continuous barrel vault, reminiscent of a typical farmyard shed.  This traditional form and its clustering around the existing structures on the site, echoes Irish farmyards.  A long low secondary element is expressed on the courtyard side of the house by a porch leading to and containing the main entrance of the house.

Internally, the roof is finished in painted strip boarding, the walls in painted plaster and the floors in hardwood timber.  Externally, the roof is finished in untreated copper sheeting, the walls in dashed render and the windows and screens in hardwood timber.

The gravel-finish courtyard defines the central external space and links the elements of the composition.

The conservation of the original farmhouse as additional family accommodation is the second phase of development.

Points of Note

  • The new building is sited carefully to relate to the existing building and to form a sheltered courtyard.
  • The renovation of the original cottage was not precluded by the scale or location of the new building.
  • Walls, existing trees and boundaries were exploited as sheltering elements.
  • The long axis of the building is orientated east-west, allowing the main rooms to be lit by south-facing windows.
  • The simple form of the original farmhouse is retained, with its setting and backdrop of mature trees preserved.
  • The patina of older buildings is maintained.  Note corrugated sheeting as covered car entrance just discernible in the background of external yard.