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Won by architect Thomas O’Brien and artist Emily Mannion, the aim of the competition was to enhance the experience of the Coillte Ards Forest with innovative and creative architectural insertions, which sought to illuminate the point of encounter between design and the natural environment. The architect and the landscape became collaborators. The end result stimulates a visitor’s connection to a much loved location, and at the same time encourages new ideas in design that are considerate to the site. The completed commission was launched in July 2014, during Donegal’s annual Earagail Arts Festival.
‘Jeffry’s House’ by architect Thomas O’Brien and artist Emily Mannion, with thatcher Ivor Kilpatrick and carpenter Nick Russel, is a folly made from thatch on a wooden frame, named after Jeffry’s Lough, a nearby lake which appears on older maps but has now disappeared. Standing at the edge of the forest, ‘Jeffry’s House’ offers shelter and views of the sea, sand dunes and mountains beyond. Sensitive to the natural beauty of the landscape around it, the structure combines traditional thatching with a slender geometric form and is designed to allow nature to reclaim the ground beneath.
The vision for this groundbreaking project is to demonstrate the exciting potential of asking architects to create interventions in the natural landscape. Donegal County Council, the Irish Architecture Foundation and Coillte hope to lead the way by initiating further commissions like this in the future.
The adjudication was conducted by: Shaun Hannigan, Director, Regional Cultural Centre, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal; Nathalie Weadick, Director, Irish Architecture Foundation; Colm Moore, Clancy Moore Architects; Michael Corr, Pie Architecture and Creative Director, PLACE Built Environment Centre, Belfast and Alex Milton, Programme Director, Year of Irish Design 2015.
Jeffry’s House is open to the public at Ards Forest Park, accessible from the Sand Dune Trail.