27 & 28 Parnell Square (Protected Structures) Grant Assisted Facade Repair Works

City Architects have been overseeing an ongoing programme of conservation works to the Georgian buildings that form part of the Parnell Square Cultural Quarter development on behalf of Dublin City Public Libraries. The works have received funding support from the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and have been designed and managed by the consultant design team for the Quarter.

Phase 1 works completed 2018

The Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, in conjunction with Dublin City Council Conservation Office, provides grant funding under two annual schemes, the Built Heritage Investment Scheme and the Historic Structures Fund. These grant schemes support conservation led projects that promote the employment of skilled and experienced conservation professionals, craftspeople and tradespersons in the repair of Dublin’s historic built environment. They also support local authorities for works to historic structures in public ownership where there is a clear heritage focus and community or public benefit. In 2018 and 2019 urgent structural façade repairs to the value of €300,000 were part funded under these schemes, with grant funding totalling 15% of the overall investment by Dublin City Public Libraries.

City Architects, a RIAI accredited Grade 1 Conservation practice, managed the grant application stage and worked with Shaffrey Architects who led the design team for the tender and construction stages. Phase 1 was completed by Summit Conservation in January 2019 and Phase 2 was completed by Oldstone Conservation in February 2020. All repair works were carried out by teams of skilled and experienced stone and brick masons.

Typical condition of brick facade prior to commencement of structural repairs.
Image Credit; Shaffrey Architects

No. 28 Parnell Square, part of the former Coláiste Mhuire complex, has been vacant and unused for over 19 years and in that time it has unfortunately deteriorated. Sustained water ingress caused significant damage to the fabric and the structure. Investigative works commissioned by DCC in 2017 highlighted key areas of work necessary to safeguard the building. These permanent works were devised on a like-for-like basis with treatment to and replacement of all original fabric kept to a minimum. Replacement materials included lime mortars for bedding, pointing and brick repair and concealed structural mechanical fixings. In carrying out these repairs thorough investigations and detailed recording of existing fabric was also facilitated especially at high level. This information has helped inform the scope and specification for future conservation, repair and upgrade works to the wider terrace in its’ proposed new function as the new Dublin City Library.

Bow bay structural ties within brick joint – Phase 2 works completed 2020

Brick façade repairs at No. 28 were identified as the most urgent and necessary works to ensure the structural stability of both this significant corner building and the adjacent terrace of regional significance. A structural issue of particular importance was an outward thrust on the brick facades of the corner building at the junction with Granby Row. External walls adjacent to both the stone cantilever staircase and timber ‘grand staircase’ were of concern. Wall movement, cracking and bowing of the facades over the height of the building had also been recorded and observed. Consequently urgent works were scheduled with Phase 1 completed by the end of 2018. These comprised stitching of structural cracks in the external brickwork to the Granby Row facade of No.28, specifically the canted bay. Phase 2 works comprised a continuation of stitching of structural cracks in the external brickwork to the remaining facades of No.28 including the bow bay of the grand staircase.

A third and final phase of works proposed for commencement by the end of 2020 will see the completion of the structural consolidation of the main facades of 27 & 28 Parnell Square.