Killiney House – “The Sleeping Giant”

 A blend into the granite landscape of Dublin Bay


“The Sleeping Giant” - Killiney House


O' Donnell & Tuomey


Townlink Construction


Joinery, Residential

Completed in 2008, this building is destined to become one of Ireland’s landmarks.

Killiney House combines a complex series of geometric forms with a simplicity that allows it to blend into the granite landscape of Dublin Bay. The split levels of the house relate directly to the ground around it, which include a series of rocky outcrops, as well as established trees. The house enhances, rather than dominates, the natural features of the terrain. The sandblasted surface of the granite aggregate mix allows the reflective mica to sparkle in the sunlight.

Because it merges with the granite of the landscape, the shape of the house is unique, and it is this that has given it the name “The Sleeping Giant”. The head of the figure seems to be facing out over Dublin Bay, and the legs, more conventionally known as the children’s bedrooms, curl back into the granite outcrops.

Making it work

The design of such a complex house is difficult enough; making it work not simply as an iconic building, but also as a house in which people will live, takes the project to a new level. Detailed 3D templates were needed to ensure the accuracy of the joins between timber and ceiling, and the bespoke sliding doors, made from Forest Stewardship Council approved Iroko, were incorporated into large screens, complete with glazing. The external joinery involved complex geometries requiring high levels of skill and experience.


“It is magnificent”, said the owner, in a tribute that mirrors both the simplicity and the complexity of her house.

Prestigious Award

Killiney House won the Royal Institute of British Architects European and International award.