The townland of Bealalaw is nestled in the rich farmland and rolling hills adjacent to Mount Leinster on the border between Carlow and Wexford. The geological makeup of the landscape is almost exclusively a golden granite that makes its way into almost every structure, from the grand houses, to the humble cottage, to the stone walls that mark the field boundaries.
Traditional buildings across the area retain similar forms and arrangements in response to this material and topographic landscape. Farmsteads are composed of the typical collection of simple volumes around several yards, but in this landscape they are loosely ordered in casual and asymmetric arrangements responding to the local contours.
This project for the extension and renovation of an existing house seeks to bring the addition and the extant into a logic that is native to the building culture of the place. Thus the addition to the house takes its scale, form and pitch as its starting point and develops a simple tectonic logic so that they might speak the same language. The addition is set at an informal angle to the existing house and grounded to the site with a long dry stone granite wall, as is the tradition.
Internally, the focus of the house is a large hall in three bays, referred to by locals as ‘the barn’. The structure begins as the most primitive of timber roofs, the ridge supported rafter roof on three columns. The central column is then lifted onto a tie beam to provide lateral resistance while creating space for a large living area. The muscular primary structure is counterpointed by the delicate white texture of the tightly spaced rafters, slender mullions, and pale tiles.