The Brief

My house is a normal suburban style house built by the Guinness Brewery for their workers in Dublin in the 1950s.  There are 3 bedrooms upstairs. The original house had just a living room and kitchen downstairs, but about thirty years ago was expanded by the addition of a flat-roofed kitchen and bathroom extension: the original kitchen now serves as a dining room/workspace. The extension also continues on the left hand side joining the coal shed which serves as a utility room.  The house and its neighbours all have very long narrow gardens – around 50m long, 5m wide. These unusually long gardens were intended by Guinness to facilitate their workers in being self-sufficient. The garden is north facing and the part closest to the house remains shaded for most of the day.


View from the kitchen to the garden

Even though I have a very long garden with potential to build further from the house, I did not want to go down that avenue.  Anyone who lives in Dublin would know that the necessity of walking even 50 meters or so on a cold wet evening down the garden is not an exciting prospect. In addition, a development further down the garden would also create more complexity (and cost) in terms of the provision of services, heat, light, sewerage etc.

View  from the end of the garden toward the kitchen

View from the end of the garden toward the kitchen

For all of these reasons, building close or connected to the house was an essential starting point. With this proviso, the brief to the team was to provide a design for the most cost effective way to add an extra room to the house. My vision for the room is as an extra living/sleeping or working space – my thinking on its precise use is still fluid at this time.

I am quite open to any suggestions re construction materials and would be happy to experiment with alternative options without increasing my carbon footprint excessively.

Architects Survey of my back Garden

Architects Survey of my back Garden


4 thoughts on “The Brief

  1. Graeme Labe

    Hi Tash
    I have recently completed 2 projects one in Tanzania and the other in Botswana. For the project in Tanzania I used roll form steel and clad the frame work in canvas. In Botswana I used a timber frame work then in filled with polystyrene then used a homage version of fero cement. Both where done using a floating structure

    Let me know if this would be on nah interest to u and I will send more info

    Love the initiative you are doing well done

  2. natasha5kextension Post author

    Thanks Graeme, I am sure all our readers will be interested in your projects which take place in remote, inaccessible areas in the developing world. Your focus on sustainability , alternative materials are worthy of a blog in their own right.
    Look forward to getting more information

  3. Karin

    Hi Natasha, as you know big fan of the project, what has struck me about the ‘attach/detach’ debate is this. When planning to extend our house an architect we consulted asked us these questions, what did we want from the extension, what were our needs and why did we need an extension? I think that you would be more certain about the answer to, attach the ‘5K’ to the house or have it stand alone, if you were a little clearer on your needs. If the project is to see if you can build a structure with integrity and validity for five grand, then which ever option allows you do that should be the one to go with. Sorry not the aesthetic debate you where hoping for.

    1. natasha5kextension Post author

      Great clarity Karin! You put our situation very well. Indeed our “needs” as you put it have not been stated clearly enough, but they are in flux, determined by the project and its constraints: ie budget, planning permission, scale etc. I am in the fortunate position that my needs at this moment in time are adaptable which will allow this project to continue in an organic way. Keep the brilliant comments coming


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