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7-9 Merrion Row & The Billets

  • Architect:
    Grafton Architects
  • Award Type:
    Assessors Award 2008
  • Location: Dublin
7-9 Merrion Row & The Billets

Citation

Architect's Comments
The fundamental concept of building is rooted in its immediate urban context, relating to St. Stephen’s Green, the Hugeunot Cemetery and the 18th century Georgian streetscape. The street line is maintained by a crafted bronze railing and gate and by cantilevering the grand staircase space overhead. A set-back is used to form an area which gives light to the lower ground level and allows the formation of an entrance threshold. The façade was developed to form a deep stone and glass screen. Windows integrate ‘nostrils’ which breaths in natural air, which is distributed into office spaces and is drawn into the six chimneys placed centrally in the plan. These chimneys continue the tradition of the particular roofscape of Dublin. The main staircase, positioned at the front of the building, acts as a screen to the south sun and as an acoustic buffer to city traffic. Circulation is positioned at the perimeter of the building, with offices placed away from the facades. The architectural challenge for The Billets – a long, two-storey ‘mews’ type building - was to incorporate new accommodation, within the character of the existing spaces.

Client's Comments
In commissioning the design for this building the Commissioners of Public Works (CPW) set a number of targets for the Design Team, some of which related to the particular nature of this prominent Dublin 2 site location. The Team was tasked with maximising the development potential of the site whilst at the same time producing a prestige addition to the Government Buildings complex. We required that there would be maximum initial and future layout flexibility, and that it would facilitate linkage to any future acquisitions in the Merrion Row / Street area. The design would need to be a sustainable contemporary 4th generation design which would meet current fire and universal access regulations. It would also need to address the particular requirements of the Billets, a Protected Structure, to the rear of the main building on South Road of Government Buildings and their incorporation into the Government Buildings complex. The completed building addressed these requirements in a number of ways e.g., via raised floors and an innovative approach to services which obviated the need for any air conditioning. It has natural environmental control with minimum solar gain and has low M&E engineering costs-in-use. The design approach embraces fully CPW's obligation to utilise the State’s property portfolio to the optimum.