A look back at 2019 and a look forward to our work in 2020

As we approach the end of 2019, we thought we’d look back at events across our work on new housing developments, public housing regeneration, public realm projects, conservation works, and civic projects such as public libraries. So below is a snapshot of some of the project milestones achieved in 2019 and some of those planned for next year. These projects are either designed in-house or by consultant architects we engage on behalf of the Council. This summary  doesn’t cover many important areas of our work including structural engineering works, extensions to houses, travellers’ accommodation and the Dangerous Buildings service.

Happy Christmas and a Happy and Productive 2020 from all at City Architects!

 New Housing Projects on site

New houses under construction at O’Devaney Gardens

City Architects and their consultant teams are currently managing the construction of 532 new homes across nine sites, with the next of these completing in October 2020. Five of the projects utilise ‘traditional’ building contracts: Dominick Street, North King Street, O’Devaney Gardens, St Teresa’s Gardens, and Cornamona in Ballyfermot.

The remaining four  projects are ‘design-build’ contracts under the new system-build apartment programme: Bunratty Road Coolock, Bonham Street, Cork Street, and Springvale Chapelizod. A key task for City Architects in bringing the system-build apartment projects to site was procurement of a system-build contractor framework. This is a national framework, available for use by all Local Authorities and Approved Housing Bodies nationwide, helping to considerably reduce the procurement times for homes delivered using system-build construction.

Planned housing at Springvale (Image: Levitt Bernstein Architects)

New Housing at Design, Planning or Tender Stage

Urban framework plan at Emmet Road

A Development Framework Plan (DFP) was completed for the flagship ‘Affordable Cost Rental’ pilot project at Emmet Road, Inchicore in 2019 and a design team to develop the project will be appointed in early 2020. The DFP sets out a balanced response to competing considerations of affordability, sustainability, apartment design standards and quality place making. The proposal is predominantly residential, supported by community facilities, a library with a neighbourhood centre and shops fronting onto Emmet Road. The 484 homes will be a mix of Public and Cost Rental Housing and will be submitted for planning in late 2020.

A masterplan is also being finalised for Dolphin House. Phase 1a, consisting of 100 homes, was completed in 2019 and we’re now producing a development strategy for the remainder of the estate. This envisages 600 to 700 homes, a neighbourhood park and a community centre designed to serve the wider area. In tandem, we’re designing 35 homes to complete the courtyard block onto Dolphin’s Barn. Both the masterplan and the housing to Dolphin’s Barn will be submitted for planning in 2020.

Dolphin House Phase 1A (Photo: Ros Kavanagh)

A masterplan is underway the phased redevelopment of Cromcastle Court near Northside Shopping Centre expected to be between 300 – 350 homes. This will include a detailed design for 100 – 120 Homes on the Cromcastle site and 40 – 45 homes on an adjacent site beside Woodville House. Planning applicationswill be submitted in the summer of 2020.Both of these projects are under the system-build apartment programme.

On a smaller, but no less important scale, 38 homes at Infirmary Road and 14 homes on Sackville Avenue will go on site in 2020. A planning application will be lodged in early 2020 for 12 homes on a small infill site at Belcamp Avenue and Crescent in Darndale. This project will be used as the initial project for the establishment of Lot 1 of the National Framework. This framework will be established for the provision of smaller schemes of Volumetric/system build apartments/houses i.e. with an expected construction value of less than €15m.

Public Housing Regeneration

Contractors and DCC staff air-tightness training at St. Bricin’s Park (Photo: Passive House Academy)

This significant programme covers 11000+ existing flats in estates around the city. We’ve completed a city-wide audit of all estates in order to help the Housing Department prioritise and also completed detailed feasibility studies for nine estates in order to seek funding approval. The citywide audit will be presented to Councillors in early 2020. Design Teams for the redevelopment of the Dorset Street Flat Estate, Constitution Hill, Matt Talbot Court and Dunne Street will be appointed in 2020.

Regeneration of purpose built housing for older people has also been progressed in 2019. The St Bricin’s Park passive house pilot project was completed in May 2019 and works to retrofit homes in Michael Mallin House and Raheny Court were also completed. A Pilot Scheme for the amalgamation of flats at Ballybough in line with latest Part L and nZEB (nearly Zero Energy Building) standards will commence on site in January 2020.The redevelopment of St. Finbarr Court, Cabra into 46 homes for older people will go for planning in early 2020.

Community Projects

Rutland Street School

Planning permission was granted to redevelop the historic Rutland Street School building to provide new community facilities and offices for a number of established community groups and Dublin City Council Area Office staff. This project will start on site in early 2020. The refurbishment of Newcomen Cottage and Mud Island Community Gardens will start before the end of 2020.

A Part 8 planning application for the extension of Glin Sports Centre will go before Council early next year with a view to commencing works by the end of 2020. Work started to Upgrading works to St. Michan’s Play Centre have commenced on site within the past couple weeks and will complete early next year.

 Public Realm Projects

Chatham Street public realm

As well as buildings, we continued to be busy working on the streetscape of the city. Redeveloping the public realm of the Grafton Street area continued with Chatham Street, Harry Street and Balfe Street being completed in early 2019 were  new trees, public seating and high quality Leinster granite paving has significantly improved the pedestrian environment. Work on a redesigned Clarendon Street is due for completion along with works to Clarendon Row in 2020. A planning application for the final phase of work in the area is planned for 2020 comprising the streets and lanes between Grafton Street and Dawson Street, including South Anne Street and Duke Street. Pedestrianising Suffolk Street was successfully trialled in 2019 and a planning application for the permanent improvement works will also be lodged early next year.

The Council held a number of car-free days in College Green in the summer and autumn this year to trial its potential as a civic space and amenity for the city head of a planning application for a civic plaza in this location in 2020. Planning applications for improved public realm at Cathal Brugha St. and Findlater Place off O’Connell Street are also planned for 2020.

 Library and Civic Projects


Coolock Library refurbishment (Consultant Architect: Mahoney Architecture)

Coolock Library service has been temporarily housed moved in Northside Shopping centre for a year to allow refurbishment of the existing building and we’re looking forward to the revamped library opening its doors to the public in January 2020. A refurbishment of Inchicore Library was submitted for planning in September 2019 and is planned to be tendered in January 2020 with construction later in the year. 2020 will also see work start on the planned refurbishment of the Hugh Lane Gallery’s 1930s wing to bring its environmental performance to that expected of a 21st century gallery.

A key milestone in the development of the new City Library in Parnell Square as reached with the project receiving planning permission from An Bord Pleanála in May. The Council is now initiating the tender design for the first phase which will deliver a state of the art facility serving the communities of the north inner city, the wider city and appropriate for Dublin as a UNESCO City of Literature.

Parnell Square Cultural Quarter (Image: Grafton Architects/Shaffrey Associates)