‘Sonas’ – Irish for happiness – constructed in idyllic rural countryside in an elevated sloping 1 hectare site within 1000m of Knockaderry Lake in South East Ireland, providing stunning views throughout all four seasons, over land and water, harvesting green energy in the form of wind, running water and sunshine. Day–time views begin in the east with the lake reflecting the first sunshine into a liquid gold shimmer transgressing throughout the day into an ever–changing landscape up to sunset, followed by the emergence of a spectacular breath–taking night sky with regular magical reflections of a full moon on the lake.
This contemporary 700m2 building was designed to frame these spectacular 24–hour views and create a family home and unique building. The building form recesses into the hillside with the entrance (upper floor) level to the public roadway, feeding into a two–storey volume from which all rooms and open–plan areas are accessed, providing a stunning transition from solid walls to uninterrupted views through glass to the entire east to south east elevations, linking the interior and exterior as one. Entrance volume provides access to master bedroom and open–plan kitchen / living / family areas on upper level, all extending onto continuous deck on the south east elevations. Lower level access leads to bedrooms, bathrooms and family areas, leading onto terraces with breathtaking views.
Building materials externally consist of zinc roof, slightly reflective glass (blending countryside in reflective form), timber windows and cladding coupled with rendered walls. White plaster, timber doors and tiled floors provide minimal finishes internally. The building exploits underfloor heating via heat–pump with heat source from adjoining stream. Insulation levels exceed Building Regulations by 150% with heat gains controlled by large roof overhangs and projecting first–floor deck areas, screening sunshine at peak times of the day, coupled with careful orientation of the building form to exploit the sun’s energy to its maximum. All waste water is treated via reed beds / wetlands, eventually discharging into a large pond containing trout.