Ireland; a place steeped in culture and folklore which evokes ideas of un-spoilt landscapes and Thatch cottages. The reality of the rural landscape arguably falls short of this romantic imagery, with rural dwellings stereotyped as not so much architectural gems but terrible eyesores. The attempt to redress this apparent lack of quality design of single dwelling houses within the Irish countryside has been exemplified through the onslaught and publication of Rural Design Guides throughout Ireland. Their replication and succession has prevailed over three decades, despite an obvious lack of analytical evaluation of their impact or success. Significantly, acknowledgement of poor quality design persists, reinforcing the need for a critique of these guides. Thus, this research investigates the impact of Rural Design Guides on the quality of design of single houses in the rural landscape. Northern Ireland forms the main laboratory of research, with Republic of Ireland and Scotland as comparators.
Image 1: Page 23, Cork Rural Design Guide: Building a New House in the Countryside