Scotch House, Co. Mayo, Republic Ireland, Contemporary Housing Design, Irish Homes, Architecture Images
Scotch House, Co. Mayo Ireland
8 Aug 2022
Architects: ACT Studio
Location: Ballina, Co. Mayo, Republic of Ireland
Scotch House, Ireland
Scotch House provides a blueprint for sustainable town centre living
View from Above
Housing and climate change are two of Ireland’s biggest crises and the conundrum of how we house people while reducing our emissions can seem conflicting. Scotch house, a residential and mixed use, urban infill project in Ballina, Co. Mayo provides answers to the key questions arising from this.
Who are ACT?
Accelerating Change Together (ACT), a social enterprise of architects, urbanists and policy specialists are implementing solutions to accelerate the green transition and achieve sustainability and resilience in the built environment. Their work on buildings and visions demonstrate how a low-carbon, inclusive, biodiverse and sustainable future can be achieved with by engaging with clients and communities to get the best outcomes.
Sustainable town centre living
Town centres have the potential to offer sustainable places to live with existing vacant structures that can be brought back into use and easy access to amenities through active travel. ACT’s co-founder Kevin Loftus says “there is great potential for our rural towns and villages to be a key tool in tackling our housing crisis and the battle against climate change, while also bringing vibrancy back to our communities. ”
However, making town centre living attractive is challenging. Irish towns lack variety in housing types and space and there is a perception that the suburbs offer a better quality of living. New housing models are needed to create a greater range of housing types that suit the different demographics and their varying needs.
Densification without demolishing ✅
Spaces and shared amenities to encourage community ✅
Spaces for nature ✅
Carbon sequestering straw construction ✅
High insulation and efficient heating ✅
Renewable energy and rainwater harvesting ✅
New public access lane ✅
Sustainable housing to facilitate sustainable living
Scotch House is a town centre, mixed use project that provides ‘own-door’ access to open green space. It has a variety of unit types including mixed residential for different ages and stages of family living and blended retail spaces. A stacking approach to densification and infill is used which allows the existing buildings to be retained and the creation of rooftop gardens in between the new volumes.
The stacked volumes are assembled from lightweight, carbon sequestering straw panels. These are low energy builds that aim to achieve the passivhaus standard. Consideration in Scotch House is given to inclusive, communal spaces with indoor facilities from remote working and additional residential storage. A public laneway through the site connects Pearse Street with the Innovation Quarter, making the town more accessible and pedestrian friendly. The project is a hybrid of the best urban and suburban living qualities.
New Pedestrian Laneway
“ We don’t want people to compromise when it comes to quality of life. Sustainable living should be aspirational ” says Kevin.
The sustainability credentials of Scotch House go beyond its building materials. Energy is generated through solar panels. Heat pumps and recovery systems are used to minimise energy needs. Allowances are made for increased rainfall with ‘blue green roofs’ that harvest rainwater and relieve pressure from the stormwater system, while supporting biodiversity through native planting.
Communal Green Space
“We believe by taking a holistic approach to the housing and climate crisis, we will not only meet these challenges but go beyond this to improve our quality of life” says Kevin Loftus.
With urgent need for housing and the need to meet EU directives for climate change a different approach is required. ACT, through architecture, design and envisioning, offers alternative concepts to combating these issues. Scotch House offers a blueprint for the creation of low carbon, sustainable, inclusive and biodiverse spaces and will have a long-lasting positive impact, putting life back into the heart of Ballina. ACT hopes that the ideas explored in this project will be implemented across Irish towns and further afield.
Living above the public realm
ACT has used the accelerating action SDG tool to determine the potential impact of Scotch house from a Sustainable Development point.
Wexford Opera House in Ireland – Building Information
Design: ACT Studio – https://www.act-studio.com/
Design Team: Inna Stryzhak, James McConville, Kevin Loftus, Liling Martin, Tom Lindsay
Type: Residential, Reuse, Mixed Use, Urban, Retail
Status: Planning application submitted, Awaiting Result
Location: Ballina, Co. Mayo
Scale: Existing Structures 633 m2; New Structures 350 m2; Total 983m2
Program 1 X Café, 4 X Retail Units, 1 X Office, 5 X Residential Units
Scotch House, Co. Mayo Ireland images / information received 080822
Location: Ballina, Co. Mayo, Ireland
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Also by Keith Williams Architects in Ireland:
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Background to Keith Williams Architects
Keith Williams is design director of Keith Williams Architects (KWA), a firm with numerous accolades supporting its fast growing international reputation for the creation of dramatic, innovative architecture. The London-based architecture practice has won over twenty major design and construction awards for its built projects.
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