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Timberyard Housing

A backland site was opened up when the Coombe By Pass cut through the city pattern. The urban design requirement was for a new street frontage to heal the wounds caused by the road engineering operation. The brief was for 47 dwellings and a street level community room.

This project repairs the local landscape by providing a new collective space, built around a former timber yard, making a residential enclave with a sense of place. The design provides scale, identity and a piece of living city, connecting new development in the area to the historic character of the Liberties.

Cork Street, Dublin 8
Dublin City Council
53°20'20.1"N 6°16'42.6"W
End Year:
  • American Academy of Arts and Letters 2015 Awards: O’Donnell + Tuomey
    Dublin, 29 Oct  – 9 Nov 2015
  • The European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture - Mies van der Rohe Award 2011 Exhibition - Chicago
    Chicago, USA
  • New Irish Architecture – Rebuilding the Republic
    Leuven, Belgium
  • The European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture - Mies van der Rohe Award 2011 Exhibition - Vienna
    Vienna, Austria

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.

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 in-situ 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.


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