An Awkward Dublin Home Turns a Corner With a Smart Triangular Extension

Robert Bourke Architects utilizes every inch of space on a challenging site to create an addition with skylights, a garden, and room to breathe.
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In the Tenters area of Dublin—a part of town named after its 1600s fabric industry, and where linens were hung to dry from tenterhooks—local firm Robert Bourke Architects was tasked with performing a thoughtful renovation on an oddly shaped lot.

The clients asked the firm to enlarge their home’s kitchen and add a new living and dining space, as well as a utility and storage space. "[They] wanted to keep the original charm of the house but also adapt it to suit their modern lifestyle," says associate architect Anna Pierce. "We kept as many of the original rooms intact and added space only where it was needed."

That was achieved, she says, by creating an extension that made the most of the unused area of the site. Since the original home is positioned on a corner lot at a 45-degree angle, Pierce and the team imagined an addition in the shape of a triangle that runs parallel to the street to meet the home. The tactic served not only to make one large open-plan space that runs from the front to the back of the house, but to also take advantage of easterly and westerly light throughout the day.

The home’s kitchen remained in its original location at the rear of the house, but the addition of a large angled skylight breathes new light and ambiance into the existing space.

Despite the tapering site, the design managed to keep all of the home’s rooms rectangular in shape, making use of ancillary spaces to soften awkward angles.

Even with limited space, Pierce was able to squeeze in a utility room and downstairs bathroom. The team hid them behind a curved green tongue-and-groove timber wall with a secret door—a visually intriguing feature that became one of the project’s hallmarks.

Exposed ceiling joists made of Irish spruce convey the extension’s shifting geometry—yet another example of how the architects turned the site’s challenging shape into one of the home’s most attractive features.

To cater to the clients’ love of plants and greenery, outdoor spaces were incorporated both at the front and rear of the home.

"The front is lushly planted to add privacy and the back has a patio and seating area to catch the morning sun," says Pierce. "Both gardens are really integral to the project as they are the real focus points from within the house."

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