Dare to be different: Elm Park, Dublin


Bucholz McEvoy Architects’ Elm Park is a stunning 300m mixed-use, sustainable extension to Dublin, made all the more attractive by the charmless dross that surrounds it. The scrappy outskirts of Dublin are the last place you would expect one of the most dynamic, high-density, low-energy developments in Europe. As you approach its southern boundary, the city disintegrates into a messy scatter of dismal concrete hotels, utilitarian hospital slabs and a dumpy neo-Norman church herding a flock of sheltered housing blocks. Then, just beyond this charmless sprawl, your eye is caught by a phalanx of six long narrow eight-storey finger blocks, all wearing beautifully tailored curtain walls, all neatly lined up in parallel and all capped by uncluttered flat roofs of the same height.