2009 – Timberyard Social Housing, Dublin

Architect: O’Donnell + Tuomey



The project was generated by the construction of the Coombe By Pass. A backland site was opened up and the urban design requirement was for a new street frontage to heal the wounds caused by the road engineering operation. A new urban corridor of apartments over retail along Cork Street was developed with the demolition of existing social housing pockets and the need for new social housing emerged to relocate residents. The development consists of a new housing scheme comprising of 47 dwellings and a street level community facility in the historic Liberties area of Dublin.

The scheme works between the six storey scale proposed in general along the new Cork Street corridor and the smaller scale of the existing houses behind the site. The new buildings are in brick, with hardwood windows and screens to terraces and roof gardens. The windows are offset from each other in the walls to work with the complexity of the residential accommodation within, and to emphasise the continuity of the brick surface. The walls are modulated with recessed porches and terraces and projecting bay windows to give a depth and complexity to the building’s edge and an interface between the private world of the house and the neighbourhood. The building cranks along the street line with landscaped planters and steps at ground level to allow some privacy to those units accessed from the street.

The main social/ play space of the scheme is the triangular courtyard which provides a secure space via the passive surveillance from the adjacent apartments. This space is further animated by the window seats at ground level, recessed balconies and projecting winter gardens above. The scheme opens up two new pedestrian routes through the main courtyard and the Grotto at the east end of the building which knit into the surrounding urban fabric, re-making connections through the urban fabric which were extinguished by the Coombe Bypass road engineering scheme.