MAISON WEDGE COUNTY DOWN
Grand Designs House of the Year Longlist 2018
RIBA Regional Award for Northern Ireland 2018
RSUA Design Awards 2018
Ulster Tatler House of the Year 2018
RSUA Judging Panel Citation:
Maison Wedge is positioned just below the hill ridge line giving it expansive views along the Strangford loughshore of drumlins, sea inlets and archaeology.
One is struck by the two elegant forms that make the building. The desire for a large house in the countryside is a common theme but here the architect has dispensed with the standard approach of the one room deep vernacular section and instead modelled parabolic roof forms that echo the rolling landscape of County Down.
We were impressed by the careful detailing developed to hide anything utilitarian that would interrupt the reading of the project as two simple sculptural blocks. This approach extended to the garage doors and inside a similar approach was taken where the access to garage and utility spaces are disguised as unit doors in the kitchen wall, almost as a nod to a castle’s secret door.
The living space is a large and impressive volume where we enjoyed those magnificent views drawn into the space but just as rewarding is the staircase which leads up to a more intimate space with commanding views to the lough which brings to mind an ancient ship captain’s house. One could happily rest there for hours entertained by the view and passing yachts.
When presented with a location as magnificent as this, the architect has worked with light, form, material and orientation to make spaces that are a delight to occupy. The house could just as easily be read as a museum or a gallery for it is the sculptural forms, the experience of the space and the connections with the outside that define this project.
There are times when place and architecture meet and they are clearly made to be together. This is one such instance where a beautifully crafted and modelled building reflects its landscape, and from within ensures the owners incessantly connect with it.