Text description provided by the architects. The development consists of a new housing scheme comprising of 47 dwellings and a street level community facility in the historic Liberties area of Dublin.
The project was generated by the construction of the Coombe By Pass. A backland site was opened up and the urban design requirement was for a new street frontage to heal the wounds caused by the road engineering operation. A new urban corridor of apartments over retail along Cork Street was developed with the demolition of existing social housing pockets and the need for new social housing emerged to relocate residents.
Planning was under local authority guidelines with public display of the proposed scheme in the Council offices and all observations responded to.
Dublin City Council were anxious to produce an exemplar residential social housing development in the area. The brief was set out by Dublin City Council and in consultation with the needs of the local and new residents.
Analysis of Brief
The design centres on a new public space on the site of a former timber yard, making a residential enclave with a sense of place. The development proposed to provide scale, identity and a piece of living city, which connects new development in the area to the historic character of the Liberties.
The scheme works between the six storey scale proposed in general along the new Cork Street corridor and the smaller scale of the existing houses behind the site. The new buildings are in brick, with hardwood windows and screens to terraces and roof gardens. The windows are offset from each other in the walls to work with the complexity of the residential accommodation within, and to emphasise the continuity of the brick surface. The walls are modulated with recessed porches and terraces and projecting bay windows to give a depth and complexity to the building's edge and an interface between the private world of the house and the neighbourhood. The building cranks along the street line with landscaped planters and steps at ground level to allow some privacy to those units accessed from the street.
The main social/ play space of the scheme is the triangular courtyard which provides a secure space via the passive surveillance from the adjacent apartments. This space is further animated by the window seats at ground level, recessed balconies and projecting winter gardens above. The scheme opens up two new pedestrian routes through the main courtyard and the Grotto at the east end of the building which knit into the surrounding urban fabric, re-making connections through the urban fabric which were extinguished by the Coombe Bypass road engineering scheme.
The housing is built to the latest Building Regulation standards including the updated conservation of fuel and energy regulations. The space standards are more generous than the last standards issued as new tenants are coming from older and bigger housing than has been provided in the last few years.
Method of Construction / Materials
Brick and timber are the main materials used, echoing the existing housing and industrial buildings in the area and the former use of the site as a timber yard.
The building is an insitu concrete structure with a brick skin, a typical cavity construction. The concrete structure allowed the openings in the façade to be offset from each other and also enabled a greater flexibility with apartment layouts by stepping the internal party walls vertically. The window openings recess a full brick, giving the openings as greater sense of depth. All openings have solid hanging brick lintels and brick sills to create an illusion of punching through the brick façade. The courtyard is paved in a carpet of brick to match the façade. Iroko timber windows and timber screens are left untreated.