Dublin house gets brutalist makeover by GKMP Architects

Dublin house gets brutalist makeover by GKMP Architects

Dublin-based GKMP Architects has redesigned an existing small cottage house and shop structure into a family residence in the city’s Sundymount district. The resulting design not only completely transforms the original structure into a modern home, it also presents it with a distinct architectural identity, using a few, key materials, such as concrete and timber, in their raw form within a new brutalist composition. 

One of the team’s key aims was to maximise space. They wanted to open up and brighten the interior, however at the same time maintain a sense of the different functions in the large open-plan ground floor. So each of these different uses – kitchen, dining, living – should be able to have its own feel and identity. 

A generous extension at the rear of the plot adds square footage to the whole, allowing for the necessary space to breathe. This leads out to a green garden and several smaller courtyards and outside niches ’hidden’ between the old and new parts of the structure. 

The project’s existing structure used to house a small home and a shop. Photography: Alice Clancy

Inside, old and new are seamlessly connected through a common approach throughout. Terrazzo flooring on the ground level flows across areas, unifying everything and referencing the material’s historical use in the original dwelling. The ceiling becomes another unique feature in the design, with large naked concrete vaults spreading over the living spaces on the ground level, defining different zones. Poured in situ, the concrete was mixed with a lighter hue in mind, in order to make the space appear brighter.

Timber cladding and built-in furniture and fittings, as well as metal detailing make this residential interior a labour of love and a truly bespoke space; it’s no wonder that it has already scooped several awards, including first place in the house category at the Royal Institute of Architects Ireland awards and the Irish Concrete Society Awards. 

A new steel and oak staircase connects the ground floor and the ‘lighter’ upper floor spaces. Upstairs, white plastered rooms contain the bedrooms, bathrooms, and a master suite that occupies the extension’s top floor. There, white painted timber beams add a sharp linearity to the interior and a large window looks out to the leafy garden beyond. 

‘We believe that this project successfully demonstrates the beauty and variety of concrete as a material while simultaneously celebrating its structural and aesthetic properties throughout the different elements in the project’, say the practice’s principals, Grace Keeley and Michael Pike. GKMP have crafted a space that offers a careful balance between comfort and robustness. §

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