We kick off with a cuppa outside the Tram Café, Wolfe Tone Square, Dublin 1. Looking east you will see apartment housing, provided as part of the Jervis Shopping Centre. Although not of any architectural significance, they are a practical example of Dublin City Council’s insistence on mixed-used development on some key sites in the city.
Proceed 200m north on Wolfe Tone Street. On your right you will see steps and a curved facade. There are retail units at ground floor level, and above them are local authority homes consisting of apartments and duplex units ranging in height from two to four floors arranged over the first floor plinth over a central sunny courtyard. Architects: Dublin Corporation, 1997.
Head 400m south on North Anne Street, past the City Council Fruit and Vegetable Markets and turn right and cross the Luas tracks at Chancery Street. Here you’ll find a wonderful pocket park and Corporation housing scheme from 1935. Chancery House is one of his smaller schemes, and houses just 27 families. Unusually it contains a small formal garden that was refurbished in recent years. On a sunny day you can rest for a while on a bench and listen to the trickle of water from a small fountain, and the bell of the Luas tram a few yards away, as well as the constant drone of traffic on the Quays.The development was built by G and T Cramptons an old Dublin building firm that still in business today. The scheme captures all the details of the Art Deco period, a curving roof is silhouetted against the sky, chevron railings and oval concrete columns mark the entrance. The outside walls are curved, just like the streamlined ocean liners that fascinated the famous French architect Le Corbusier. High above the street tubular steel railings echo the nautical theme and frame two generous balconies for lucky top floor tenants. Horizontal lines cut into the top floor plaster enhance the modern fresh feel to the upper floors. Architect: Herbert Simms, 1935.
Head west 400m along the Luas tracks to Smithfield, and then head 100m north on Smithfield and look East. Here you’ll find a pair of Victorian Court service buildings that have been vacant for almost a quarter of a century, located just north of the Children’s Court designed by O’Donnell and Tuomey. These buildings are not in use as housing, but form part of the tour as they could be renovated to play their part in tackling Dublin’s housing crisis. Architect: unknown, late nineteenth century.
Head 850m to the north-west through Stoneybatter, perhaps pausing for a coffee in a cafe en route. At the junction off Temple Street West and Arbour Hill you’ll find a Greek Orthodox Church, and just to the north you’ll find three two-story blocks of Dublin City Council Senior Citizens housing, retro-fitted to Passive House Standard in 2019. Architect: Dublin City Council, 2019.
Now head downhill to the River Liffey, and leaving Heuston Station to your right, take a left after 300m, where you’ll find teh Heuston South Quarter development. Designed by Reddy Associates this large complex includes offices occupied by Eir, and a major housing development rising above ground floor retail and other uses. The last phase of development has not commenced, allowing lots of light into the well-landscaped park to the west. Most of the development is rented out, and a portion of the units are occupied by housing association tenants. Architect: Reddy Associates 2005.
Our final stop allows us to view a century of housing from one vantage point. The century old Iveagh Trust housing development lies to the north-west, and incorporates Liberties College. To the east lies a Dublin Corporation three-storey housing development from the early 1980s, and the the north-east another Corporation scheme rising to four floors high with bas-reliefs on the brick facade depicting Gulliver’s Travels as the author Dean Swift lived nearby. In the distance across the park can be seen a long apartment block rising to six storeys, designed by Fitzgerald Reddy and Associates in the early 1990s.
Thank you for taking my tour today – Ciaran Cuffe