Living Design Magazine ~ Hidden Depths


Living Design Magazine ~ Hidden Depths

Architect's Account

The conception of the ICEBERG was an opportunity to create what we believe people want. It is an unconventional house in its layout and unexpected in terms of design and style.  It was always a project that needed to be built and not sold from plan as it is as much about the spaces created, the finishes, the light and the views, as the functionality.
The ICEBERG is the first show house of a pair of semi-detached houses which have replaced one detached dwelling. In order to secure Planning Permission the houses had to echo the dwelling they were replacing in terms of form, ridge height, width and build line.
The layout of the houses is simple with the accommodation extended over four floors and grouped around a central staircase, which is lit from above. With the levels presented through the site we were able to excavate and increase the floor area to 2,600sqft. Substantial back gardens enabled us to incorporate a large amount of glass to the rear elevation creating a dramatic, contemporary appearance. The ICEBERG has a refreshing, calm ambiance throughout.  With Suzanne Garuda we have been able to overlay the design framework with a harmonious interior.
On entering the ICEBERG you are enveloped in a sculptural, bright space with intriguing angles which create a sense of surprise. A simple, plastered staircase with stainless steel handrails leave the hallways unobstructed and free flowing. The kitchen / living and dining areas are on this level, and act as the natural hub of the house. This area visually connects you to the street frontage and to the landscaped gardens at the rear. The mid level accommodates the main bathroom and three bedrooms, two of which face the street, opening into lightwells and the third floats above the garden. The lounge is located at garden level with large sliding door access to the patio area. The master bedroom is perched on the top of the house with a generous balcony which enables the appreciation of the treetop views over South Belfast.
It was always our desire to use local craftsmen. The kitchen we designed was built by Spring Farm Joinery of Antrim.  Glazed balconies were supplied by Macspec and the sliding doors and windows were supplied by Baskil Window Systems.
The house is fully furnished and iPad artwork by artist Fargo Anthony adorns the walls.  The artwork follows the ICEBERG theme with cool, muted tones with sharper highlights, which were controlled and developed on the iPad to compliment the evolving colour scheme.

The name needed to stand out from the usual variance on local names which are given to developments to define this as a unique and exceptional building. ICEBERG was chosen not for any connection with the upcoming Titanic anniversary but to help enlighten the public to the fact that what is visible from the road is only a small part of what is actually present.
In this project all aspects of the design, build, advertising and marketing was lead by the Architect. The sales brochure, which is different from the norm, includes caricatures of the entire project team, and illustrates the individuality and group ethos behind the project. This reinforces the concept that the ICEBERG is a considered and richly designed product which contains thought and character rather than a focus on the tag of the appliances in the kitchen.
The current housing market is littered with conservative safe reproduction styled houses which are created for the sole purpose that they will sell as they have sold before. Their sales material follows a format which the consumer is familiar with, understands and is not challenged by. The graphic images for the ICEBERG are based on a movie format and a short promotional film was also produced, it can be viewed at here. The premise of the plot focuses on the funding and sale of the house rather than the house itself. It has received mixed reviews but has proved more popular viewing than most house sales videos. 
It was exciting to conceive and produce the ICEBERG. Having no client to question the choices and solutions was liberating. The ICEBERG was designed to create what we felt a house should be like and to provide the public with a product that they never thought they could have.

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