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DRAWING ON EXPERIENCE A Luthier’s House and Workshop: Fitzwilliam Lane Dublin

Part 1 Project 2012
Hugh Magee
Ulster University Belfast UK

Purpose
Dermot Mc Ilroy, a world-class Luthier makes guitars from a small workshop in rural County Antrim. Thinking of expanding to an urban centre, the brief was to design a workshop, house and guesthouse on Fitzwilliam Lane, an old stable lane on Dublin’s south side. The starting point for the project was a visit to Dermot’s existing workshop with an introduction into the process of guitar making. Through a methodology of observation, drawing and making the existing space was surveyed and reinterpreted for a smaller site in a dense urban location.

Idea
Northern facades protect while southern openings orientate focus internally. Carved earth and building mass create voids. Light penetrates tight spaces. Volumes stitch together at various levels. The rationale being to satisfy programme ambitions for flexibility and future change, and create pleasurable spaces that function simply. Direct communication between users, potential for ad hoc encounters and passive visual opportunities are the result. A view of the sky from below ground, a wave from a workbench to a family member, a sense of privacy from, yet connection to, the city all add to the spatial experience.

Connected volumes allow for variable programme arrangements between House, Workshop and Guest House creating the potential to move from one to the other, rent or sell. A back yard acts as a kind of decompression chamber between city and home and ties these three elements together, functioning in a similar manner to the entrance yards of typical mew houses. A first floor terrace and third floor bridge further integrate the three uses. Tectonics satisfy technical requirements for client-specific use while maintaining an inherent versatility for alternatives, the ambition being to create for both the client’s and the building’s lifespan.

An aesthetic that eschewed ideas of cleanliness in favour of durability, weathering and ease of maintenance also relates to the gritty urban grain of the stable lane, a place in a state of continuous change contrasted by the surrounding refrigerated facades of Georgian Dublin.

Hugh Magee

Tutor(s)
Mr Mike McQueen
2012
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