Goodbye 1970’s, hello modern day!
Conneely Wessels Architects is an architectural practice based in Kinsale, County Cork.
Their practice aims to provide a responsive, imaginative and professional service, tailored to the aspirations of each of their clients, and to deliver quality results regardless of commission size or type as well as seeking to develop sustainable designs which fulfil the expectations of building users, address their physical and cultural context and allow effective solutions for procurement and construction.
Their work includes all types of planning, design and their range of services extends from acting as consultants, providing strategic advice on development, regeneration and conservation, to providing full architectural services for building projects from inception to completion.
They advise and enable clients at various stage of their projects from initial project definition and feasibility through to general estate and facilities management. They also offer clients the cost benefits, ease of management and synergies of a single point of contact for all construction services from project inception through to completion.
In 2018 the practice were approached to re-organise and extend a 1970’s bungalow to take advantage of the stunning views over Charles Fort in Kinsale. The original dwelling was built as part of a development in Summercove entitled Haven Hill.
“The bungalow was dated and required extensive refurbishment. A sun room, that was a later addition, was in poor condition, and blocked daylight to the kitchen. The layout also did not meet our clients’ needs for modern and open plan living, nor did it maximise the views,” said Architect Lizette Conneely of Conneely Wessels Architects.
“A standard approach would have been to extend the existing building footprint to the back of the existing house, or even to extend upward, with a first floor footprint, to provide the additional footprint the brief required.
“However, our innovative design solution was to extend the house to the front with a wrap around extension, to maximise the opportunity for stunning sea views from house. This inventive design approach also provided the dated bungalow, with a new frontage,” added Ms Conneely.
The extension re-organises the house, placing the living spaces to the south taking advantage of the Harbour Estuary and Kinsale town views.
The design of the new wrap around extension, is conceived as a ‘framing’ or ‘viewing device’ that frames the panoramic view over Kinsale harbour and out over the Atlantic to the Bulman Rock. The views are framed through a series of fin walls that echo the angular em-battlements of the nearby Charles Fort.
“The layout of the existing house was also improved, by reorganising the accommodation. The bedrooms are aligned in a bedroom block, with the master bedroom awarding sea views and views onto a private courtyard, that is sheltered from the elements,” enthused Lizette.
“The kitchen, dining, living room and snug rooms are reorganised along the front of the house to maximise sea views with access to a sheltered terrace along its frontage. The kitchen, dining, living room are linked in an ‘enfilade,’ with large sliding doors. The open plan space can be subdivided, into discrete zones as family life dedicates to provide acoustic and visual privacy.
“Apart from the innovative design solution of extending to the front of the house and providing the house with a new frontage, the building fabric was also improved to exceed current building regulations standard,” she added.
As to whether or not there were any problems encountered throughout the project?
“The most challenging part of the transformation, was to set-out the fins during the construction stage, to insure that each view is framed precisely to maximise the stunning views,” enthused Miss Conneely.
The elevation of fins, frame panoramic views over Kinsale harbour, acting as camera lens. The fins also serve to support the roof overhang and provide shelter to the terrace and solar shading.
The architectural practices approach to innovative sustainability solutions on the project was to make substantial environmental benefits from a number of quite simple and straightforward measures to reduce resource consumption. These measures ranging from re-using as much as possible of the existing footprint of the original dwelling to reduce foundation works, high levels of insulation and exploitation of building mass through use of external insulated render system with air-to-water source heating, provision of heat recovery system, passive solar control, low energy controlled LED lighting and choice of sustainable building fabric materials and finishes.
Conneely Wessels Architects believe in design excellence through carefully listening to their clients needs and goals, not by imposing their overall ideas onto your project. They are here to design a home that works perfectly for their clients and their family, not a project that will just look great in a portfolio. This can only be achieved by truly listening to what the client has to say, both positive and negative. They adopt an approach of hold your hand throughout the entire design and construction process, taking clients step by step from developing the initial design through the final construction. Throughout their unique process, they can design a home that meets their clients needs, lifestyle and budget, achieving successful results while eliminating the unnecessary headaches and possible projects that can typically arise during construction.
Their design process commences with detailed site analysis that informs initial concept sketch designs. CWA develop several design options for discussion with their clients. They also utilise 3D computer models throughout the design phase to allow clients to visualise the clients new home better and therefore make more informed decisions. This provides the comfort of knowing exactly what their new home will look like, before starting construction, eliminating unnecessary change orders and saving you money.
Through their professional experience and efficient design, they can help their clients maximise their investments by reducing the cost of construction, reducing energy consumption and potentially increasing the future resale value of their property. They can also streamline the construction process by assisting in the selection of qualified contractors.
The practice works thoroughly throughout the design detailing phase to develop a set of accurate drawings and specifications based on the projects’ exact wants and needs. Their detailed tender and construction package preparation allows them to eliminate the change orders that typically increase cost of construction. They view the lifetime characteristics of the project with equal enthusiasms as the initial commission.
The practice design buildings which are thoroughly worked out both inside and outside. Internal space will function for their intended use with their objective to exceed the high expectations of their clients and the people and families who will settle in the buildings that they design.
Conneely Wessels Architects bring specific skills to the design process to achieve a quality, innovative and cost effective solution or our clients and these include: project leadership, effective communication, sustainable environment, extended skill sets and thought leadership.
The floor was insulated and the floor build-up was finished with a polished concrete floor. Polished concrete is an ecofriendly floor finish solution that, combined with underfloor heating, provides a thermal mass that retains and radiates heat. It not only is an aesthetically pleasing finish that reflects light, but also a cost effective floor finish solution.
Simple and straightforward measures were implemented to improve the sustainability of the house such as installing an external insulation system, a heat recovery system including an air to water heat pump was fitted, a polished concrete floor with underfloor heating was introduced throughout the house and sustainable building fabric and materials were introduced includeed low energy controlled LED lighting throughout the entire home.
As to Ms Conneely’s overall thoughts on the project?
“Generally, the definition of an extension is considered as an add-on to the side or back of an existing dwelling. By extending the existing house to the front, we added value to the house, not only by adding additional space, light and maximising the views, but by providing the house with a completely new front façade,” said Lizette.
“Internally, remodelling and re-imagining the interior layout, by creating flexible open plan living spaces that responds to modern family life has greatly improved the functionality of the home. The living spaces are now filled with light, maximising the sea views and extending to the front, has given the existing dwelling a completely new lease of life.
“Externally, the introduction of fins frames the incredible views over Kinsale Harbour and Charles Fort, is very successful. The fins resembles the angular embattlements of the nearby Charles Fort, but also serve a functional purpose, i.e. supporting the roof overhand and providing solar shading to the South Facing windows,” she enthused.
“The home owners are delighted with the transformation of their home. Not only does the new layout respond to their way of living, maximises the incredible views, but the improvement and upgrade of the existing building fabric to meet current building regulations, resulted in a much more sustainable home. This has reduced resource consumption and has made the house a much more comfortable and low maintenance to live in,” concluded Lizette Conneely.