LocationPortballintrae, United Kingdom
Structural engineersDesign ID
QSPhilip Barbour Associates
Text description provided by the architects. The existing 1920's two storey dwelling is situated at Portballintrae, a small seaside village in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. Portballintrae takes its name from the Irish ‘Port Bhaile an Tra’, meaning ; ‘port of the beach settlement’ and lies within the Causeway Coast and Glens District Council area.
The original building character consisted of whitewashed cottages nestled around the Ballintrae bay, although that character has changed in no small part through the areas popularity as a seaside resort.
The client wished to reconfigure the existing accommodation to facilitate modern family living for three generations of their family in an open plan arrangement. The requirements set out at the initial briefing meeting included the aspiration to create spaces that engaged with the external environment and moved away from the existing cellular accommodation. The client had a specific requirement to provide an external hot shower area for use following surfing and family visits to the nearby beach. This reinforced the idea that the scheme should act as the family ‘hub’, a place to meet and spend quality time together. Coupled with the visual and emotive element of the brief there was a pragmatic requirement to improve the existing building performance and deal with any issues present simply due to the buildings age.
The existing building line facing Ballaghmore Road, had long been established and the intention was to develop a rear extension that would extend beyond the existing gable wall and benefit from views toward the hills beyond and from the evening sun. This approach allowed the visual impact from the public street to be subtle yet provide an interesting modern bookend and give a suggestion of what was beyond.
A new extension was added to the building to create an open aspect to the private garden at the rear whilst the poorly lit cellular accommodation was altered to facilitate the families open plan living aspirations and improve the internal environment. The conceptual building form was inspired by the family interest in surfing. The surf board profile manifests itself as a cantilever over the newly formed courtyard and coupled with the use of a hardwood timber soffit provides both protection from the elements and a tactile building face. The remaining building is formed in traditional masonry construction and covered with self-coloured white render that makes reference to the historic character of the area. The material palette used was simple and restrained with the emphasis being placed on strong elements of hardwood timber to add warmth.
The new extension is bounded by an existing corrugated roofed outhouse which provides an important link to the past. The client wanted to ensure this building element was retained as it represented an emotional link to their early family life in the house. The new extension provides a visual representation of the next generation of their family life without forgetting the past. Their aspiration for the new building extension to be a significant part of their grand-children’s formative years is evident.