Simon Hoe Architects Dublin Design Approach
Having worked in densely built-up London, sun drenched Zimbabwe, and climatically volatile Ireland, I am very conscious of the importance of light. Levels and quality of light and shade impact hugely on comfort and mood, can create a sense of well-being and uplift the spirits. A narrow shaft of light illuminating – perhaps – a vase of flowers, can transform a room or entrance lobby. A sequence of light and shaded spaces enhances the quality of those spaces.
Getting the circulation right makes best use of the space available, takes fullest advantage of views and the path of the sun, and resolves the conflicts that exist in all building briefs. Establishing the character of each space creates a tailored environment. A space may be expected to hum with activity, with people milling to and fro, or create a sanctuary, carefully laid out for precious moments of reflection and relaxation.
The materials used will determine the character of the building. Passive energy control is achieved through careful specification of the external envelope. Low maintenance and running costs are always an objective. Expensive materials, such as glass or natural stone, are used to greatest effect. Environmentally friendly materials, such as renewable timber, natural forms of insulation, and recycled products such as re-constituted stone are recommended.
As a designer, I am continually fascinated by both natural and man-made spaces and objects. I find sketching, painting and pottery enable me to look closely, and arrive at designs that both work and lift the spirits.
SUSTAINABILITY, LOW ENERGY LOW COST
Sustainable development is the construction and servicing of buildings using renewable materials which do not endanger the natural environment. The shape and fabric of the building can be arranged to harness the naturally created energy all around us, to improve the air quality, and to reduce running costs. Mechanical services can incorporate solar panels, heat pumps, central control systems and rain-water harvesting, also reducing running costs. The low energy house needs to be tailored to the lifestyle of the client, their daily energy demands met with appropriate technology. This ‘sustainability’ aspect of the design process has transformed from a matter of choice to one of necessity due to widespread ecological damage. Recent changes in the Building Regulations legally oblige us to face up to the most important and exiting design challenge of the 21st Century. Please click here for a brief introduction to the design of sustainable buildings.