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Balgaddy A

  • Architect:
    Howley Harrington Architects
  • Award Type:
    Best Housing (More than 1 Unit) 2004
  • Location: Dublin
Balgaddy A


Dublin Over €300,000

Located in an Architectural "no mans land", this project succeeds in establishing an Architectural presence and a catalyst for a greater design focus in future housing schemes.

Built at about 25 dwellings per acre, the client's requirement that all public areas be overlooked has been met. Its Architectural presence is achieved by a three-storey crescent contained by four-storey "bookends".

The bright colours and clear identity of each dwelling within the overall layout contributes to a human scale and environment.

Architect's Comment
This is a new high-density neighbourhood of 84 dwellings for South Dublin County Council. The site is bounded to the north and west by existing residential development and a small hospital, to the south by a busy road and to the east by the local school grounds.

Set along Griffith Avenue, a 3 storey south-facing crescent creates a distinctive place as a focus for the area. The crescent is terminated at the ends with distinctive "bookend" buildings.

Behind the crescent is a series of smaller scale, quieter, tree lined streets, designed to ensure that pedestrians have priority over cars. The dwellings range from four bedroom houses to one bedroom apartments, the houses each having their own front garden, own front door and private and secure garden to the rear. The architectural language of all buildings is consistent, with variation to be found in form, composition and scale.

Back gardens are private and enclosed, but work collectively as small woodlands to provide screening, visual interest, encourage wild life and provide a sense of well-being. Public streets have an abundance of trees, to enhance streets, roads and squares and to signify entrances or ownership. Public edge landscaping integrates brick walls, metal railings and gates, streetlights, refuse storage, trees and often parking. The impact of traffic on residents, both within and around the edges of the scheme, is minimised. Car parking is either on street or within front gardens.

Clients' Comment
Balgaddy A is the first phase of a large scale phased programme of works by South Dublin County Council at Balgaddy in North Clondalkin on the Western fringe of Dublin city. Initially we commissioned Howley Harrington Architects to design an urban masterplan for the Balgaddy area. This was subsequently divided up between Murray O'Laoire Architects, O'Mahony Pike architects, South Dublin County Council Architect's Department and Howley Harrington Architects. Balgaddy D and E are now about to go on site (by Murray O'Laoire Architects and Howley Harrington Architects respectively).

The brief was to design a new neighbourhood of approx. 25 dwellings per acre, encouraging safety and security. The buildings are arranged so that residents overlook all streets and public areas where children can play and 'hang out'. A shared surface of streets and pavements is complimented by robust ground floor red brick walls with white rendered walls and recessed blue planes above, creating a low maintenance, user-friendly environment. This continues inside the dwellings where residents have high quality timber windows that can be easily cleaned from the inside, easy to use locks and fittings and a very high level of finish generally.

Howley Harrington Architects have responded to the brief, producing a contemporary design that moves away from the stereotypical aesthetic of social housing.