Donore House

Metropolitan Workshop, Dublin, 2017


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Alice Clancy     Download Original

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The project consists of a refurbishment and extension to a typical 19th century end-of-terrace house sitting on a cul-de-sac adjacent to a listed church.

Its contribution to the surrounding context belies its modest scale popping up above the boundary wall defining the west side of the churchyard.

Challenging its domestic nature, the building reads as a simple mass with concealed windows behind a brick screen. This allows it to appear as a single form taking its place in a townscape largely defined by a composition of pitched roof elements.

This dialogue between old and new feeds into the interior where views of the church bell tower are an important driver. The end-of-terrace location means that distant and sky views enable the space to feel much larger than the physical parameters of the project. The interior spaces expand and contract in response to the constraints and more intimate scale of the existing house.

Like many buildings of its era the church presents a red brick front as the public face of the building using more economical buff-coloured “Dolphin’s Barn” brick to the rear, a common feature of Dublin’s building stock and a tradition we were keen to draw on. While the new insertion is prominent it is still a back land site and secondary to the main house. The buff-coloured brick knowingly takes its place in this urban hierarchy.

In addition, the detailing and brick coursing of the project draws inspiration from the church, the surrounding terraced houses and the 1930s Players Factory. The English garden bond employed is a nod to the garden wall of the church yard. A soldier course creates a datum separating garden wall from the house above. Here the bond changes to double Flemish bond allowing the creation of larger openings in the brick screens.


  • Begun: Jan 2017
  • Completed: Jul 2017
  • Floor area: 133m2
  • Sector: Residential
  • Total cost: £160,000
  • Tender date: Nov 2016
  • Procurement: RIAI Minor Works Contract
  • Address: Dublin, Ireland