House on Victoria Rd, Holywood , Belfast

Honed and compositionally in control of the site

· Credit: Ros Kavanagh

Hall McKnight for private client

Budget: Undisclosed

GIA: 271m2

This discreet family house has been designed on a plot that no developer would consider – bridging a stream, with most of the development on one bank, thus freeing up the flatter land opposite as the family garden. 

  • · Credit: Ros Kavanagh
  • · Credit: Ros Kavanagh
  • · Credit: Ros Kavanagh

With almost no street presence, it demonstrates the design skill of a California Case Study House, but eschews that dramatic language for an understated construction style. The house reads as single object resting in a clearing that uses a limited vocabulary of render and aluminium externally; but all the time it is honed and compositionally in control of the entire site.

Richer materials are used internally, with floors of walnut and in-situ terrazzo inset with brass. Public rooms are set out enfilade, separated by well detailed sliding or folding doors, while storage in the private spaces is decadently given rooms rather than cupboards.

The architect wanted the house to feel permanent; neither traditional nor vernacular and resisting of the ‘orthodox vocabulary of modernity’.

See other winners in the RIBA Regional Awards 2015 – Northern Ireland