This rather unusual structure is Ireland’s first architectural installation to be carried out in a forest park. The installation was launched on the 27th of July 2014 in Ards Forest Park, county Donegal. Called Jeffry’s House, the thatched structure was designed and built on site by architect Thomas O’Brien, and artist Emmily Mannion.
The exterior thatch is supported by an underlying timber frame made from both round-wood and sawn lumber. Being raised off the ground will allow the local fauna to “reclaim” the site, immersing it in nature. Set on the edge of the forest, Jeffry’s Lough offers shelter to passers-by and views of the surrounding land, and sea-scape.
All told, it occupies a total of 18 square meters (194 square feet). If you’re wondering about the strange name, it’s been taken from a nearby lake which can be found on older maps, but now seems to have disappeared. The idea of the lakes disappearance has been applied to Jeffry’s Lough; its intended to form part of natural environment, and – at least partly – disappear.
Being the first of its kind, the project is ground breaking, and hopes that it will inspire other councils to involve architects in the production of “interventions” in the natural landscape. Donegal County Council is hoping to lead the way by commissioning further projects like this one.
Jeffry’s House recently won an award from the Irish Architecture Foundation (IAF). From Nathalie Weadick: “Jeffry‘s House displays a great consideration to craft and an intriguing architectural narrative. Thomas O’Brien and Emily Mannion have given us so much more than just an object on a site – they’ve created the potential for a magical conversation between the folly, the landscape and the public.”
Photos: Emily Mannion, Thomas O Brien