Cork & Barrel
Round Rock, Texas
Traditional Irish building methods profoundly influenced Cork & Barrel’s design. A variant of the “double-pile” house, the project splits into two, uniform gable buildings that run parallel to one another with a detached pavilion on the same structural pattern as the main building. The symmetrical forms share an appropriate roof pitch of 45 degrees, which provides a visual balance between wall and roof and is a defining character of traditional Irish building methods. Shifting the two structures along their parallel axis creates a visible entry and reveals a transparent passage, through the interior, to the preserved woodlands beyond.
Contrasting material finishes juxtapose the exterior of the two buildings. A light colored, smooth stucco treatment for one building is a contemporary interpretation to the lime-based renders of the Irish vernacular. The second building’s use of a darker stone is a nod to the undressed rubble stone found both in homes and site walls in Ireland. Strategically placed windows showcase unique elements such as fireplaces, exposed structural patterns, private gardens, and kitchen activity. Gardens and lush landscaping flourish throughout the site and outdoor seating areas providing a natural pathway to the flowing brook that contours the site.
A transparent interior passage connecting the two structures lets one choose their journey through the space. The open plan presents the exposed kitchen, traditional Irish bar, brewery display, and indoor/outdoor bar at the moment of entry. The spaces link together providing a variety of unique experiences while minimizing the need for corridors and enclosed areas.
A study of traditional Irish home designs, material vernacular, forms, proportions, vicissitudes in time, and lifestyles have all influenced the contemporary response to this project.