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TCD Irish Art Research Centre

The existing Provost’s Stables building was designed by Frederick Darley in 1841, and constructed in 1842-1844 as a stable and carriage building to serve the Provost’s House in Trinity College Campus. The 2007 conversion of the stables building and courtyard accommodate a new Research Centre for Irish Art.

It is the author’s effort to put life into language; the translator’s role is to find the life within that language. Working on conversion projects such as this, where the setting and theme of the architecture have been so clearly established by another architect in another time, the incoming architect forsakes his usual role as author / designer to become a reader / translator of the given material.

We took all our decisions on this project in this spirit. This is not merely a precautionary measure to reduce risk of damage to original material. There is pleasure to be drawn from this reading and translation.

Trinity College, Nassau Street
Trinity College Dublin
53°20'35.6"N 6°15'31.5"W
End Year:
  • American Academy of Arts and Letters 2015 Awards: O’Donnell + Tuomey
    Dublin, 29 Oct  – 9 Nov 2015

The difference in function and character between the two levels within the building was clearly legible in their respective flooring materials. Upstairs hay lofts and rooms for grooms and coachmen had unvarnished timber floor boarding throughout. Downstairs a granite flagstone floor ran through the rooms with areas of brick flooring local to the horse stalls. Gulleys carved in the granite provided rills for run-off from the loose boxes and stalls to drains in the cobbled yard.

These signs of use and other distinctive details and characteristics of the existing building were surveyed and recorded as evidence for further reference in the detail specifications of the refurbishment and repairs. A redundant chimney shaft gave us the location for the introduction of the required vertical services; the array of five stalls with their timber screens showing scratch marks from years of use provided the requisite fifteen study bays for researchers.

In order to increase the daylight to the upper floor reading room and offices we moved the circulation to the rear, opened up the single blind window and fully glazed two existing hayloft door openings. The north elevation had been resurfaced in cement plaster. This inappropriate material was removed and a stone pigmented lime render was reinstalled.


  • Open House Dublin 2010, Irish Architecture Foundation
  • Open House Dublin 2009, Irish Architecture Foundation
  • New Irish Architecture 23, AAI Awards 2008, Gandon Editions
  • The Provost’s House Stables, Building & Environs
  • Trinity Today, Issue 13, Oct 08 2008, New Home for the Trinity Irish Art Research Centre (TRIARC) opened in the Provost’s House Stables
  • Architecture Ireland, No. 241, October 08 2008

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