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High Commendation


Part 2 Project 2009
Paul Durcan
University College Dublin | Ireland
Method _
Remaking a piece of found ground in Dublin City through subtraction. To excavate and take advantage of existing site conditions and pieces of the city’s history which have been left behind in the wake of new developments. The idea that a building is not a static object but that it has a life of its own and that this could be conveyed through its form, skin or use.

Proposal _
To retain the old theatre entrance on Longford Street and to stitch it back into the fabric of both the place and the city. To fold the existing boundary wall on Stephen Street back into the site, allowing the fold to act as both an entrance and more importantly to address the Georgian Townhouse opposite. This move provides new breathing space to both the house and the street, and also creates new public ground in the city, partly sheltered by the overhanging studios and the foliage of the red birch trees contained within the sunken garden.

The programme is a bronze foundry consisting of a large courtyard and a series of different scale workshops. This poche space contained at the centre of the block acts as a workyard for the foundry and also provides breathing space for the programme and the city.

Paul Durcan

This Thesis project was generated from a passionate interest in the evolution of Dublin City.

His work method involved an almost forensic investigation of a disused site bounded by two city streets. He examined this ‘lost place’ in great detail through historical analysis and through a range of drawn media in order to understand its context and significance.

In the totally altered circumstances of Irelands economy he wished to show how a piece of unused ground – previously intended for a private gated development – might be repossessed for the community .

His process of ‘remaking’ involved the creation of a public place, route and garden supported by a building of artistic craft and employment – a bronze casting foundry. In his urban (re)searches he discovered such a building and through observation and conversation developed his understanding of the process, the craftsmen and the artists. From this the design brief evolved for a building which would have all the spatial and environmental qualities to support such an endeavour.

In his design method he worked not only through crafted drawings but also through abstract and figurative models at a range of scales. These models were the most carefully made of any I have ever seen. They captured the essence of Pauls design intentions not only conveying the sense of the light and space of the whole but also the materiality and tactility of the part. It was possible to imagine the (re) inhabitation of this abandoned urban site and to delight in the sensation.

Gerry Cahill AADipl. FRIAI RIBA

Mr Gerry Cahill
Mr John Tuomey
Ms Carmel Murray
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