Houses in Landscape: Place, Method and Relationships in the work of McGonigle McGrath Architects

Kieran McGonigle

This research seeks to explicate latent knowledge in the practice of McGonigle McGrath, work which has already been extensively peer reviewed and awarded for the excellence of its execution. Much architectural thinking is advanced through the work of practitioners. Explicating this is not only valuable to the individual practitioner, but also the wider architectural community. A central theme in the work is the single family house, many situated in or on the edge of landscape, and all located in the north of Ireland. The research has investigated the influence and interests which inform the work of the practice, from modern painting and photography, to found rural structures, to the resource of the mapped lines of Ordnance Survey, and has revealed a developed working technique which uses composition, line, overlap, grid and order to control space, depth and relationships, which explains the control in the work and ultimately the kind of spaces that result. Threading through the work as a developing thesis is the unearthing of an implicit relationship to landscape, which is present in the work but not previously understood. This relationship can be expressed both in terms of land measurements and the abstraction of the found condition of site to establish a spatial and geometric relationship to the ground, and in terms of landscape as picture, influenced by the sublime landscape of the Woodland Cemetery in Stockholm, and realised in the immersive and powerful landscape of Ballyscullion Park. Landscapes revealed through buildings.


A digital resource communicating the work of Architecture at Queen's University Belfast