Design moment: Wendon, 1930

An open loggia on the ground floor is mirrored on the upper with “sleeping porch” or open balcony.

An open loggia on the ground floor is mirrored on the upper with “sleeping porch” or open balcony.

 

A detached house originally called Wendon on a side road in Glasnevin, Dublin, is often regarded as the first international-style family house built in Ireland. It is certainly one of the most eccentric of the period.

In 1929 builder GM Linzell, who was preparing to build on plots of land off nearby Griffith Avenue, commissioned London architect Harold Greenwood – who worked in Edwin  Lutyens’ office – to design his family home. The butterfly shaped, substantial two-storey home, built in precast concrete with steel-framed windows was described at the time “as the last word in artistic comfort in Ireland”. It had internal telephones, concealed lighting, dining tables with in-built hotplates, wood panelling, wash-hand basins in bedrooms and oil-fired central heating.

An open loggia on the ground floor is mirrored on the upper with “sleeping porch” or open balcony. From being a gleaming well-documented example of 20th century modernist thinking it has fallen into sorry disrepair. Its years as headquarters for the Inland Fisheries board saw many alternations. But, now called Ballnagowan, it had fallen into serious disrepair even before a recent fire caused significant damage. It is officially listed as a protected structure.