Here on TreeHugger we are often partial to the modern aesthetic, but we also appreciate traditional forms of architecture that have a long history of adaptation to a particular locality. There's a lot to glean from time-tested building techniques, even if they might not look as recent. Irish artist and architect team Emily Mannion and Thomas O’Brien recently completed this intriguing structure, the first of its kind in a national park.
Dubbed "Jeffry's House," the eccentric wooden and straw-thatched structure stands at the edge of the Ards Forest Park and a long-vanished lake and functions as a lookout point for visitors. It's named after Jeffry’s Lough, a lake that still appears on old maps, but has long since dried up.
Its elevated profile allows visitors to take advantage of framed views to the sea, nearby sand dunes and mountains, and also allows nature to flourish underneath it. The artist and architect explain the significance of this tiny structure in relation to its context:
Jeffry is a creator of myths, a storyteller, an inventor of musical pots, a philosopher, a builder, a mischief maker. Jeffry’s House is a respite from the elements and from the everyday. It has portals for the universes of the sky, the sea and for the earth. It is for children and for the child in us.
Besides its magical character, this straw-thatched and wooden-framed structure is a great example of what can be called appropriate architecture, which draws upon local materials and building traditions, and provides shelter with minimal impact on the environment.
Commissioned by Donegal County Council, and winner of a competition held by the Irish Architecture Foundation (IAF), the architectural folly was launched during the Coillte and the Earagail Arts Festival in late July. The sponsors of Jeffry's House hope that it will encourage other counties to build similar installations. More over at ArchDaily and the websites of Emily Mannion and Thomas O’Brien.