A once-a-year opportunity comes up next weekend when buildings of architectural merit, that are not usually accessible by the public, open their doors, writes Carol O’Callaghan.
Calling all design fans and interiors voyeurs who, like me, can’t resist walking past a house and slowing their pace to check out the view inside the window.
Next weekend is a chance to indulge our nosey-parker tendencies and visit some of the newest domestic architectural projects in Cork City, thanks to the annual Open House weekend which runs from Friday, October 4, to Sunday, October 6, and includes five houses where the owners are inviting us to visit.
So, if we have notions of renovating,extending, building from scratch, or just want to feed the soul on beautiful interiors, quirky locations and architectural beautification, we can occupy our weekend with a tour of these gems. To get geared up, let’s have a preview of what we can expect through the eyes of the architects involved.
Design: Cooke Architects
Project: A 1980s two-storey dwelling which was extended to the rear. Architect Dermot Harrington says, “It replaced something which was of its time, with an open-plan kitchen dining area which lets more light in, using ground to the side of the house.”
Standout feature: The simplicity of detail and use of materials, and the connection with the garden.
Open: Saturday 5 and Sunday 6 from 1pm-4pm.
Design: Owner Paul McNally of The PassivHaus Architecture Company
Project: “We extended a 1960s semi-detached house to the rear,” says Paul,“amalgamating two existing rooms into an open plan shape orientated towards thesetting sun, bringing daylight into what is a northwest-facing space. It has passive credentials and is super-insulated and airtight, and an example of how to do this contemporary extension which you wouldn’t perceive from the front.”
Standout feature: The light and brightness and uninterrupted connection with the garden.
Open: Saturday 5 from 2-5pm.
Design: Owner and architecture technologist Lisa Monaghan
Project: “We bought an 1890s cottage and demolished it, maintaining only the original façade, and built on the original footprint,” Lisa explains.
“The bedrooms are now downstairsand living room upstairs because of theincredible views of Cork City, and we added a rear roof terrace.”
Standout feature: The view from theupstairs living area across to Shandon and the North Cathedral, maximised by large windows.
Open: Saturday 5 from noon to 2pm.
Design: O’Mahony Pike Architects
Project: Stephen Kelleher, architect, says, “It’s adaptable accommodation for older people who want to downsize, with 30 one and two-bedroomed houses. The design is contemporary, largely single-storied units around a courtyard to encourage community, and it’s close to supermarkets and public transport.”
Standout feature: The landscaped courtyard with benches and a sense of space and community.
Open: Saturday 5 from 1pm to 3pm, with tours by the architect for a maximum of 20 people at a time.
Design: Kiosk Architects
Project: Pat O’Sullivan, architect,revisited the layout of this house when it was bought at builder’s finish stage. “It’slocated on a sloped site with pedestrianaccess from the top and car access from the bottom,” he says. “We made a new entrance for the lower level by using one of the bedrooms which made an adaptable space which can also be a study or a guest room.”
Standout feature: Storage and joinery, with finished plywood featuring large.
Open: Sunday 6t from 11am-1pm.
The Open House programme of events also includes walking tours and talks, among them a tour of the city centre led by Pat Ruane, Cork’s architecture conservation officer, taking in Oliver Plunkett Street and Paul Street, both built in the18th century over existing marshes. Departure is from the forecourt of Cork City Hall on Saturday, October 5 at 2pm.
For the eco-conscious, catch a talk onFriday evening at 5.15pm by architect Paul McNally at the Good Day Deli, Nano Nagle Place, on Douglas Street. He’ll cover building in a climate-friendly way using his own and other architects’ work, followed by a discussion and questions.
Most events over the weekend are running on a first-come, first-served basis.
For full details and to register for free ticketed events, log onto openhousecork.ie