Brick is a versatile material and here it is used for walls, paving, steps and planters. The brick used was a mix of a soft yellow and a slightly darker yellow with some over-burnt bricks. The yellow is reminiscent of the yellow stock brick used to the side and rear of most Georgian and Victorian houses in Dublin.
The yellow brick often referred to collectively as ‘Dolphin’s Barn’ brick came from Dolphin’s Barn, Mount Merrion, Ringsend, and later when the canals opened, as far as Offaly and Laois. Usually imported red brick was reserved for the fronts of buildings as it was expensive.
The bond refers to the manner that bricks are laid on top of each other, a simple bond where each course is offset from the one below is most commonly associated with brick, it is called ‘English Garden’.
Different bonds can create different associations and greatly alter the appearance of a structure. The bond used in this project was a ‘Flemish’ bond that is a stretcher (long brick) followed by a header (short brick).
The dining bay extension to the rear of the house was to be a relaxed family space. The yellow brick is intended to give a relaxed atmosphere and to compliment the brown of the copper roof. The pointing can change the appearance of the brick greatly, here a white mortar was used made from white cement and white plasterer’s sand, the light mortar brightens the appearance of the whole structure.
The barbecue was an opportunity to play with the possibilities of brick, the base is corbeled to create a toehold for the cook. As part of the works the side passage of the houses was roofed over to make an entrance lobby and boot room, the brick was used on the floor to create continuity and a robust finish to a semi-outdoor space.
The Orangery was inspired by 18th and 19th-century garden buildings and was an opportunity to explore traditional detailing. Each arched opening is actually three concentric arches intended to create shadows and add interest to the facade.
The two outer arches are the same for both doors and window openings this brings order and symmetry to the facades while the inner arch changes to accommodate the different opening sizes. The arches were constructed on-site by a very talented bricklayer, and every brick has to be cut to fit its location. The decorative course at the parapet level was inspired by a visit to the Cotswolds in 2014.
To create a finer finish to the brick it was pointed by a specialist. Pointing involves the removal of the outer face of the mortar between the bricks then applying a new facing in a mortar that matches the colour of the brick before a thin line of mortar is again removed and mortar of a different colour is added. This creates the impression of a much thinner and finer joint between the bricks.
When carrying out the works here we were particularly concerned with matching the details of the existing house. To achieve that we had to get a lot of special bricks manufactured.
A lot of time was spent taking profiles and measurements of each special type, producing drawings of each brick and working with Ibstock to have them produced. Highly detailed drawings of the facades were produced to ensure every brick was accounted for.
A new house presents an opportunity to use brick in a more elemental and contemporary way. The form of the house is a series of blocks of varying sizes and heights depending on the rooms they contain and are offset from each other to allow light to enter the house at different times of the day.
The brick is detailed to emphasise the strong forms and sharp lines and is carefully planned to ensure only full or half bricks are used and soldier courses (bricks laid vertically) are used at the parapet of each block to create a visual termination.
A light yellow brick was used with a mortar joint of a matching colour to emphasise the elemental forms and create a homogenous appearance. Before selecting a brick or the mortar a number of sample panels are constructed with different brick, mortar colours, pointing types and bonds.