internal courtyard highlights vernacular characteristics of irish rural home by DUA architects

internal courtyard highlights vernacular characteristics of irish rural home by DUA architects


DUA architects’ house draws from the irish farmhouse typology


dublin-based practice DUA architects built a courtyard house with a historic character within the village of ratoath in county meath, ireland. the clients are deeply rooted in the area and therefore, it was important for them that the home would blend effortlessly into the familiar surroundings. the form and layout of the residence draw from local vernacular architecture, and more specifically from the irish farmhouse typology which can still be found throughout the region. 

seoidin courtyard house 10

all images by shane lynham, unless stated otherwise
(head image by arc studios)  



organized around three courtyards 


the residence is organized around three chimneys and three courtyards, with the first taking shape as a forecourt that welcomes residents in. the building itself is wrapped around the second internal courtyard, while each wing is carefully positioned to ensure sufficient lighting and privacy. the bedrooms and intimate spaces look outwards towards the landscape and the social spaces look inwards towards the inner courtyard providing visual connections across the rooms. a third planted courtyard is allocated between the external forecourt and internal courtyard, blurring the boundaries between inside and outside. 


DUA architects (find more here) designed all spaces around the concept of optimizing daylight penetration and framing particular views appropriate to each of the rooms. in the dining room, a large horizontal window frames a view through to the cattle field behind, a low window in the bathroom gives glimpses into the courtyard without exposing the occupant and in the kitchen, a high window scoops in the southern light and frames views of the beautiful irish cloudscapes and so on.

seoidin courtyard house 9



forming a calm environment with a deep connection to nature


as the family is approaching retirement, the building itself needs to be calm, uncluttered, and deeply connected to nature. pure, primitive forms and a simple palette of materials are utilized to achieve this serene atmosphere and produce an ideal environment for relaxation. timber, stone, plaster, and bespoke minimal detailing were used throughout the house. the benign was recessed and hidden and the meaningful artifacts of the occupants were curated and displayed.


the building was named seoidin by the clients which is the irish word for ‘little jewel’. ‘we feel it is a perfect description’, the architects share. ‘the building appears simple and understated to the passerby and upon entering the space, its ambiguity and spatial complexity slowly reveal itself and make for a house that is constantly changing and evolving.’

seoidin courtyard house 1
image by arc studios 

seoidin courtyard house 2

seoidin courtyard house 4


project info:



name: seoidin courtyard house
architects: DUA architects
project team: darragh breathnach, joe keohane, giovanna santoru
location: ratoath, county meath, ireland


designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.


edited by: myrto katsikopoulou | designboom

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