Ballymoney-based sustainable architecture firm 2020 Architects has completed a new contemporary and low-energy home that offers a refreshing and sustainable take on the typical rural architecture found across Northern Ireland. Located in the coastal fishing village of Ardglass, the Black Cottage (also known as the Eco Cottage) champions low-cost construction and energy efficiency with its simple material palette and highly insulated timber frame. The project is clad in cost-effective black corrugated metal panels and offers a bright and welcoming environment indoors.

close up of cottage's exterior

According to the architects, the stereotypical Northern Irish cottage consists of simple forms, white render and a slate roof. The Black Cottage references the local vernacular with its gabled shape, yet departs from the norm with a black facade; the fiber cement corrugated cladding installed on the timber frame muffles the sounds of rain and wind. Moreover, the dark exterior material helps recede the building into the landscape and protect it from the coastal elements while fulfilling the client’s desires for a building that “challenged the stereotypical contemporary representation of the Irish cottage.”

black cottage surrounded by green grass

Inside, the building features white walls, large triple-glazed windows and double-height vaulted spaces that make the interior feel bright and airy. Natural light and perfect views of the marina from the south fill the home, which is set on an elevated and exposed plot on the north shore. In addition to highly effective insulation, the Eco Cottage is equipped with a direct air intake stove and a mechanical heat recovery and ventilation system.

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cottage with large windows

“The design draws on a basic vernacular form alongside a very simple palette of material that not only hark back to the agricultural and industrial heritage of the area but would also provide a low cost and low tech solution to the construction,” 2020 Architects said in a project statement. “The palette of dark external materials also helps to settle the building and reduce the impact of an additional building visible from the many vantage points in the harbour.”

+ 2020 Architects

Images via 2020 Architects