House at Maghera County Down, RIBA House of the Year Award Shortlist 2015, Northern Ireland Home, Property

House at Maghera, County Down

Royal Institute of British Architects Prize Shortlisted UK Home – design by McGonigle McGrath, Architects

19 Nov 2015

House at Maghera in County Down

House at Maghera, County Down

Design: McGonigle McGrath Architects

RIBA Award Winner, 2015

House at Maghera:
House at Maghera
photo © Aidan McGrath

Maghera by McGonigle McGrath, an exemplary family house in County Down, is the latest home to be shortlisted for the 2015 RIBA House of the Year award. The annual award is run by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).

House at Maghera join the following four houses on the RIBA House of the Year shortlist, with another yet to be announced:

• Levring House, London by Jamie Fobert Architects
• Flint House, Buckinghamshire by Skene Catling De La Pena
• Kew House, London by Piercy&Company
• Sussex House, West Sussex by Wilkinson King Architects
• Vaulted House, London by vPPR Architects

House at Maghera

House at Maghera, County Down by McGonigle McGrath – shortlisted for the RIBA House of the Year

House at Maghera
photograph © Aidan McGrath

This family house is on the edge of a clachan, a small grouping of farmsteads, on the leeward side of the stunning Mourne Mountains in County Down and is composed of two linear traditional building forms that continue the existing settlement pattern; each discrete form being displaced and slightly rotated in relation to its neighbour.

House at Maghera
photograph © Aidan McGrath

The two forms are welded together by the extension of roof slopes. The resulting silhouette anchors the house to the ground and fixes it in the landscape. There is real talent and judgment at work here and a deftness of hand that goes far beyond a reimagined vernacular.

House at Maghera
photo © Aidan McGrath

The front entrance yard has a cool tension reminiscent of the Mexican architect Luis Barragan, albeit without the colour, and is authentic in its context and meaning. The entrance hall leads to a music room, a trapezoidal volume complete with piano, and enclosed by a pair of folding and sliding barn doors.

House at Maghera
photo © Aidan McGrath

A guest bedroom to the east occupies the end gable of the shorter building form – a wonderful cavernous volume with a large singular window and timber planks for a floor. The longer range of west-facing living rooms with serried overhead bedrooms all gaze outwards at the Mournes. In the second living room the diagram is subverted by a tall clerestory window reaching through the first floor to scoop morning east-light into this otherwise west-facing space.

House at Maghera
photo © Aidan McGrath

This is a family house providing an empathetic framework of beautiful spaces for its occupants, opportunistically using the site and appropriate technologies to achieve an eminently habitable and sustainable home. The quality of construction is very high, exemplary and demanding detailing executed with evident local skill and obvious pride (who said craft was dead?): a credit to architect, client and builder.

House at Maghera
photo © Aidan McGrath

Grand Designs: House of the Year 2015

RIBA Awards 2016

Website: House Maghera

Levring House by Jamie Fobert Architects – shortlisted for the RIBA House of the Year

Location: County Down, Northern Ireland

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Comments / photos for the House at Maghera, County Down – RIBA House of the Year Award Shortlist page welcome

Website: McGonigle McGrath