Park Close, Dún Laoghaire

DLR Architects + A2 Architects

‘Park Close’ reinforces a community nucleus of existing buildings that includes local shops, a youth centre, a local parish church and a local school. The architectural design for the housing – a two-storey terrace and a single-storey cottage block – reflects the scale of buildings in the surrounding area and seeks to embed them in the existing context with a generous provision of shared public space along with simple refined construction.

A two-storey gable wall of flush-pointed brick with striated base directly onto Park Close tilts gently to make a threshold into a shared sanded and paved forecourt for occasional car-parking around which 10no. 1-bed housing units gather. This forecourt is generously planted at its edges in order to create a microclimatic garden of grasses, flowering plants and fruit trees. A communal refuse store, also in brick, sits pavilion-like at the centre of the forecourt. A tall bench made of brick is also added at the end of a small lawn area to offer a gathering point for the residents of the development.

The simple architectural paired form of terrace and cottage block refers to artisan housing typologies found in other locations around Dublin. All ground floor units enjoy own door access while first-floor units are accessible by shared stairwells. Projecting brick bays to the rear of the two-storey terrace offer terraces and glazed balconies that face onto a community centre currently being extended. A projecting canopy is employed at each doorway to offer shade and shelter while opening a door. Internally within each dual aspect apartment, a large living space allows for adaptive use over time by its inhabitants, along with having either ground floor private gardens or first-floor terraces to the rear.

Flush-pointed brickwork is striated with recessed brick coursings in a stepping pattern in order to make a socle for each element as it rises from the ground. Window openings are a family of squares in small, medium and large size with expressed precast concrete lintels overhead. Soffits, fascias and rainwater goods are purposefully paired back to strengthen the architectural form but also to ensure minimum maintenance over time.