McGonigle McGrath completes “robust” brick home near Belfast

McGonigle McGrath completes "robust" brick home near Belfast

The shapes and colours of local masonry buildings informed this monolithic home near Belfast, Northern Ireland, designed by local architecture firm McGonigle McGrath.

Located just outside a small village in the Lagan Valley Regional Park, the dwelling, called Hill House, replaces a single-storey 1960s home owned by the clients. The change was made after it became clear their spatial requirements necessitated a much larger structure.

Exterior photo of Hill HouseExterior photo of Hill House
Hill House was designed by McGonigle McGrath

In order to provide five bedrooms, a large entertaining space, a guest annex and space for a collection of artworks, Belfast-based McGonigle McGrath created a cluster of brick forms, with a butterfly roof referencing the former home.”We often express houses in the countryside as a collection of forms, coming from an understanding of the historic rural condition here, of dwellings, clusters and farmsteads, and as a means of managing the demand for larger buildings in rural settings,” McGonigle McGrath co-founder Kieran McGonigle told Dezeen.

Photo of Hill HousePhoto of Hill House
It was constructed from brick

“We have employed that strategy here, organising the plan according to the acts of family life, of gathering and dispersal, of social activities and private activities,” he continued.A larger form to the south contains the main entrance, leading into a large living, dining and kitchen area, using the sloping terrain of the site to create a sunken “conversation pit” below and a play mezzanine above.House at Maghera by McGonigle McGrathHouse at Maghera by McGonigle McGrath Barn-like house by McGonigle McGrath features pale walls and asymmetric gables To the north, an offset, adjacent smaller form contains a snug and bedrooms, while to the east a third, standalone form houses a guest area, connected to the main home via a walkway sheltered under a metal canopy.Grey-coloured brickwork was used to create all of these forms, with large openings framed in timber opening out onto paved patios at ground floor level, and deep reveals with perforated brick sections providing more privacy above.

Interior photo of the homeInterior photo of the home
The home is located in a village in the Lagan Valley Regional Park

“Brick was chosen as the main material for its robustness, longevity and beauty. We chose a textured grey to be neutral, and to serve as a contrast to the precise dark timber window frames,” explained McGonigle.”The site is on the periphery of a small hamlet comprising a church and masonry buildings, some of which are brick, so the choice of a robust material like brick for the project felt like an obvious one,” he added.

Photo of a staircasePhoto of a staircase
The interior scheme was designed to be minimalist

In order to display the client’s collection of artworks, high, bright spaces were created, with skylights in the butterfly roof illuminating white-painted brickwork and concrete floors in the living areas.For the bedrooms, a greater feeling of warmth has been created through the use of wood panelling on the walls and ceiling of the stairwell.Previous residential projects completed by McGonigle McGrath include a dwelling informed by agricultural architecture in County Down near Belfast, topped with zinc-clad asymmetric gable roofs.Elsewhere in Northern Ireland, Hall McKnight used red brick to build Church Road house, a blocky home that is arranged over a sloping site.The photography is by Aiden McGrath.