A large family home in Belfast explores how multi-generational households can live together and provide both shared and private accommodation, whilst achieving a balance of independence, privacy and community.

Project details

Project Multi-Generation Family Home
Architect John Kennedy Architects
Client Cary Thompson
Product used Terca Mellowed Red
Area 570 m²

Multi-Generation Family Home in Belfast covered with Terca Mellowed Red tiles

Multi-Generation Family Home in Belfast, Ireland © Donal McCann

Multi-Generation Family Home in Belfast covered with Terca Mellowed Red tiles

Multi-Generation Family Home in Belfast, Ireland © Donal McCann

Multi-Generation Family Home in Belfast covered with Terca Mellowed Red tiles

Multi-Generation Family Home in Belfast, Ireland © Donal McCann

Multi-Generation Family Home in Belfast covered with Terca Mellowed Red tiles

Multi-Generation Family Home in Belfast, Ireland © Donal McCann

Multi-Generation Family Home in Belfast covered with Terca Mellowed Red tiles

Multi-Generation Family Home in Belfast, Ireland © Donal McCann

The beginning

In 1991, the family had been obliged to move from their home on the Knock Road in Belfast when the Department of Environment purchased part of their garden and their red brick Victorian house to facilitate a road-widening scheme. The house was demolished at that time and a sizeable residual site remained in family ownership. The proposed road-widening scheme imposed design challenges in terms of access, privacy and noise.
The brief called for a generous family home with independent grandparent accommodation with separate entrances and internal connection. In addition to the normal compliment of rooms in a family home, a large living space was required for extended family and other social occasions. The client wanted a contemporary pitched roof house with an abundance of natural light and an acknowledgement of the original red brick family home previously demolished.

Design approach

This large house required an economical solution and the design comprises two simple linear red brick pavilions with their gable ends defining the front elevation, which are linked by a spacious double height entrance atrium. The pavilions are offset in plan to define the external spaces and reduce the building’s scale.
This plan arrangement articulates the separate entrances and defines the internal functions of the house. The garden wing is the public area containing all the living accommodation and a guest bedroom suite. The ground floor living rooms are arranged linearly with large glazed screens set within deep reveals overlooking the garden. The north-east wing is more private and contains the family bedrooms on the first floor and the grandparent apartment on the ground floor. The grandparent apartment connects to the entrance atrium giving easy access to utility and garage spaces.
Red brick was the chosen material and was selected for its likeness to Belfast bricks of the late 19th century and for its subtle variations in shape and color. The brickwork is flush pointed & brushed over and detailed with deep reveals and recesses to give a planar sculptural quality to the façades, which are complimented with zinc panels and timber cladding.

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