Following the demolition in the 1950s of one half of a 4 bay Georgian house at no.15 Henrietta Street, this historically significant street in North inner city Dublin was left with a missing tooth. In 2009, Dublin City Council held an open international competition to propose a new project for the site for which we were awarded first prize. At no.16 Henrietta Street, we proposed to construct an open and flexible brick structure to contain a series of pipe making workshops for Na Píobairí Uilleann, the association of Uilleann pipers located in the adjacent no.15. We also proposed a small theatre to the mews for the performance of Irish music.
Externally, the distinguishing characteristic of the surrounding Georgian structures is their unadorned structural facades. In order to successfully place a new structure in this context, it must be a timeless structure which transcends the passing trends, a building which appears like it has always been there and that it will always be there. The proposed building to no.16 is just that, a direct expression of its unique brick vaulted structure. It appeals to the fundaments of the context rather than its formal characteristics. Its thick brick fin walls act as a buttress to the visual mass of the rest of the block making a powerful and expressive end to the terrace, while referencing a Sullivanesque extension at the opposite end of the block. Each floor is a completely open plan created by a robust and beautiful structure of brick vaults. To the Henrietta street side, we proposed to rebuild the complete façade of the original house so that one might reinstate the Henrietta streetscape, but in a way that is suggestive of the evolution of the site through the use of blind brick windows- a common practice in Georgian buildings utilized for turning corners and completing symmetries.
The project was granted Planning Permission in October of 2011 and is currently in pre tender stage with Na Píobairí Uilleann.