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York Street Social Housing

  • Architect:
    Seán Harrington Architects
  • Award Type:
    Best Sustainable Project 2009
  • Location: Dublin
York Street Social Housing


This Scheme of 66 Apartments, a Community Centre and Creche establishes a new corner to York Street and Mercer Street. Based on ecological design principles, the building is designed to benefit from controlled passive solar gain using glazed wintergardens and solar thermal roof gardens. It also has an energy efficient communal heating system, rain water recycling and sedum green roofs. The jury enjoyed the attention to detail exhibited throughout the project and commend the project as exemplary urban residential development.


Working closely with the local community, we have designed 66 apartments, a community centre and a crèche in Dublin city centre near St. Stephens Green.

We have placed great emphasis on communal facilities, such as community meeting rooms, a shared garden, a children’s play area, and recycling facilities including a communal waste composter.

There are a total of 17 three-bed, 29 two-bed and 20 one-bed homes using a large variety of different dwelling types. Most of the apartments are either dual or corner aspect with many having dual aspect living spaces.

The communal garden has been designed in consultation with the residents; this is complemented by two roof terraces for residents.

The new building re-establishes the former street line of both York Street and Mercer Street re-introduces the pattern of mews dwellings and marks this important city corner with a distinctive and appropriate building.


Dublin City Council’s brief for the redevelopment of York Street was to create a sustainable urban development of sufficient density that would achieve a high standard of accomodation for city living, with a range of flexible spaces for different ages and family sizes that used reduced energy and had low carbon emissions.

Developers and Architects often work in a vacuum when designing apartment complexes on a scale such as York Street. In the design development of this complex, however, consultations with the prospective residents were undertaken at an early stage and their suggestions were incorporated into the scheme. This process was also carried out in Fatima Mansions and Ballymun Regeneration. This has fostered a community spirit and ownership of the development which was very evident when residents visited the completed scheme for the first time in November 2008.

The development is a good example of what can be achieved when solid urban design principles are implemented. There is a good relationship at street level with the apartment entrances, the community building and retail use. Apartment layouts have good orientation throughout, the courtyard receives above average sunlight penetration and is an oasis in a very busy city centre environment. The contemporary idiom has successfully incorporated elements of the former Georgian streetscape.

The development was supported by the Department of the Environment Heritage and Local Government under the capital works programme and by Sustainable Energy Ireland. City of Dublin Energy Management Agency assisted in the formulation of proposals for the energy saving aspect of the scheme. It was decided to use the development as a pilot scheme for an energy efficent scheme beyond the requirements of the Building Regulations relevant at that time. Energy rating standards have moved on significantly since the development was first proposed and what was seen as a pilot scheme then, has now become mainstream on all City Council Housing developments.