A house with a granite base and glass upper floor by Niall McLaughlin Architects is based on the work of Californian architect Craig Ellwood and Mies van der Rohe but is very much of its place – Dublin 4. The 490sq m (5,274sq ft) house, which won an RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) award last night, sits in a garden behind a Victorian house on Ailesbury Road. The owners bought the site with planning permission for a traditional-style house. But they had different ideas: “They were keen to have a modern building,” says McLaughlin, who designed a much-featured house in Cork and is working on two more houses there. The design of the Dublin house takes from local materials and combines it with two extremes of Mies’ work: his inward-looking courtyard houses and the outward looking, glassy Farnsworth House. These are reflected in the Dublin house’s glass upper floor and its granite base, incorporating two courtyards. Yet each material has been used in varying ways to create texture and degrees of privacy and openness. The architect took from the granite garden walls in the area as well as the granite Dublin mountains seen in the distance. “I was keen to use the granite in different ways,” says McLaughlin, in places it has been bonded with resin to achieve very fine joints.