Edward Square, Donnybrook, D4

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    • #709394

      Some images of the first residential square (not strictly such) to be built in Dublin since Victorian times, designed by Douglas Wallace, built by O’Malley’s and developed by Edward Holdings.

      A report in last week’s Irish Times below:

      A new square for Dublin in Donnybrook
      Fiona Tyrrell

      Changing City: As traditional squares go, the quarter acre communal garden at Edward Square in Donnybrook is on the small side. But then again, nothing of this style has been built in Dublin for over a century and space is at a little bit more of a premium now than it was in the mid-1800s.

      The imposing five-floor terraced houses that form the residential square certainly make up for it. Final touches are now being put to the swish development on the former Quaker Hospital site at Bloomfield Avenue, off Morehampton Road.

      Built by Gerry Barrett, the man behind the G hotel in Galway, the scheme has 17 Regency-style houses with a traditional square as its centrepiece.

      Prior to this, the most recently built housing schemes around a formal garden were the Victorian squares in Rathmines and Ranelagh in the late 1880s – Kenilworth, Grosvenor and Dartmouth squares.

      De Vesci Gardens, built in the 1840s around a 4.5-acre garden in Monkstown, is one of the few example of Regency residential squares in Dublin.

      The earliest was St Stephen’s Green which was laid out as a residential square around a garden in the 1660s, according to Mary Clark, city archivist with Dublin City Council.

      Edward Square is laid out mostly in grass with some paving and features a 200-year-old beech tree.

      Owners who bought off plans in 2004 will begin to move there in the autumn. Apart from the large stucco houses, there are apartments and mews houses around the back.

      A small number of houses are expected to come on the market in the next month through selling agent Felicity Fox. They are likely to go for significantly more than the €4 million they cost when first launched in 2004.

      Planning permission to develop 11 large apartments in two period homes, also on the site, has been secured and these are expected to go on the market in the autumn.

      © 2007 The Irish Times

      Below is a press report from the Sunday Tribune at the time of development’s launch, with details on areas, pricing etc:

      The Millionaire Square
      It’s a €100m near sellout as the country’s wealthiest buyers splash out on Gerry Barrett’s D4 development.

      The near sell-out in less than 48 hours of almost 50 exclusive homes in Dublin 4, priced between €1m and €4.5m, indicates the phenomenal wealth in some sectors of this country.

      Launched on Tuesday evening at a drinks reception at Dublin’s Merrion Hotel, over €100m worth of property was snapped up before lunchtime on Thursday, and building work hasn’t even started yet.

      The upmarket hardback brochures liberally distributed at the Merrion reception to over 100 guests and prospective buyers gave a hint of the luxury homes due to be unveiled on the night and with more than 80% of homes sold already, few if any were disappointed with what they saw.

      Overall it was a busy week for Galway-based developer Gerry Barrett. As well as launching Edward Square, his €150m scheme in Donnybrook, Barrett also acquired the Hatch Street University Hall building for which he paid €16m, and which is likely to be turned into apartments.

      The 4.85 acre site on Bloomfield Avenenue, situated between Appian Way and Morehampton Road in Donnybrook, is the former grounds of the Quaker Hospital. “In terms of a new development, there’s nothing comparable to Edward Square in Dublin 4”, commented selling agent Felicity Fox.

      And while Barrett acquired the site back in 2000, part of the deal included building a new hospital and Quaker meeting house in Rathfarnham, to be constructed before the new development started. And with that project almost completed, the Quakers are due to be re-housed by Christmas, enabling construction work at Edward Square to start in January.

      The overall development will comprised 59 houses and apartments along with a large office block, all of which is expected to be finished late 2006….

      Delighted with his latest project at Edward Square, which he says combines the best of classic 18th century design with a modern twist, Barrett, a shy and retiring former school teacher, has a definite leaning towards preserving the traditional in our built environment. His recent shopping centres, Scotch Hall in Drogheda and Edward Square shopping centre in Galway, are both town-based and element that he believes is very important.

      “I don’t think it’s a good idea for shopping centres to be located out in the suburbs in places you have to drive to. For me a shopping centre should be situated in a hub where people can walk to. We have designed our centres so they can accommodate the smaller traditional shops as well as the larger stores that need plenty of space.”

      Other projects he has taken on include the restoration and conversion of Barna House in Galway, the 18th century home of the Lynch family. The main house and 19th century stables were sensitively converted into 24 homes. An nest on his agenda? “We plan to open our Eye Cinema in Galway in March which will be followed by a sister cinema in Drogheda,” said Barrett.

      Designed by Douglas Wallace architects, the Edward Square scheme in Donnybrook comprises and interesting mix of four- and five-storey Regency-style houses, contemporary glass-fronted mews homes, modern apartments and restored listed buildings.

      The large period-style houses will be laid out in two terraces of three- and four-bedroom houses. The four-bed house has a floor area of 4,252 sq ft and accommodation is laid out over five levels. At basement level there is an entrance hall, lounge, kitchen cum dining room and cloakroom while at first-floor level thre is a main hall, formal drawing room and dining room which opens out to a terrace. Steps lead down from the main terrace the lower ground floor patio and large rear garden.

      Also on the first floor is the main bedroom and ensuite along with a second double bedroom and separate showerroom, while the second floor contains another two double bedrooms, one ensuite and the main bathroom. The top floor provides a large studio living room complete with wall to wall glazing, a showerroom storeroom and good-sized terrace.

      Apartments vary from 590 sq ft to 1076 sq ft, and are laid in contemporary open-plan style. The three-bed mews houses are also very modern with glass-fronted walls on all three levels. Sizes range from 1410 sq ft to 1733 sq ft.

      The three listed buildings on site, which include Bloomfield House, Swanbrook House and Swanbrook Cottage, will be restored and will form part of the 30000 sq ft office block that Barrett says might suit an embassy or corporate headquarters.

      Apartments and mews homes will be equally luxurious in their finish, and will include wall to wall glazing in bedrooms, designer kitchens with state of the art fixtures and appliances, and contemporary style bathrooms with glass washbowls.

    • #789336

      Pure pastiche, low -brow and ostentatious. Yeuch! But then, I guess there is no accounting for taste.

    • #789337

      Interesting. Looks v v posh alright.

      The detailing to the terraces looks a bit funny alright – not a big fan of pastiche or old style with a ‘modern twist’, but that’s just me. It’s interesting using a square to give it form – I like that idea but I wonder will it square feel like an actual Dublin square? Is the whole thing gated? How do residents go in and out? If they are all car owners then presumably the car access is behind the shots we are seeing, perhaps to basement parking. In which case will anyone ever go out into the square? How the square sits in relation to its surroundings would be interesting to know. Does it connect to anything?

      I’d also be interested to see how and where the social housing element was accommodated.

    • #789338

      Horrible. They should have just gone for straight period reproduction, I presume they had the money to achieve it. The modernist elements don’t work. It also seems too low for a city square, could easily have gone another floor. And the setback upper storey is weird-looking. Anyone know if it’s gated?

    • #789339

      Might not have gone another floor – can’t see how you could make a 5 floor house work. But it does look low – whether the photos are distorted or the floor to ceiling heights are too low (or at least lower than the typology they are aspiring to).

    • #789340

      They should change the top floor so that it fits with the rest of the building since right now it doesn’t work

    • #789341


    • #789342

      Yes, its weird, it looks like they are trying to imitate a georgian terrace which has been crudely extended by adding a mansard.

    • #789343

      Had a look on the Blackberry last night and reserved judgement on the added on storey until I saw it on a desktop.

      Totally agree Notjim you could only call it a bastardisation of a well executed replication on the lower floors.

      Pity but not that unpredictable this type of thing was quite common in Belgravia in the early 1980’s before being banned for lack of taste.

      The mews units are quite pleasant mind and I’m sure it has been a commercial success but given the movement in house prices over the period they still would have done exceptionally well without the dodgy mansard.

      I just don’t know why they didn’t go for a Fitzrovia scale design that was integrated in its approach there is no doubt that this scheme will be derided in a decade like 26 Fitzwilliam Place and whilst on that subject what is the storey with the giant v-board in the front garden opposite the kiosk that seems to have been there for about 18 months to advertise ‘short term lets’

      This is a business centre and that is not an SCS or IAVI affiliated board. If DCC don’t take enforcement they will have retention on a metropole scale.

    • #789344

      From the way it sounds, the developer talks the talk – being opposed to out of own shopping etc. – but has been perhaps let down in walking the walk by architects?

      I don’t know anything about this developer (apart from the typical sycophantic call-that-journalism blurb that the Irish Times are infamous for above) but if he is making an attempt to do something better (although I can’t tell from the photos here) that’s great. One ‘enlightened’ developer is worth 100 ranting architects. not least because the developer has the right kind of power. After all, enlightened developers in the UK were very important in getting CABE up and running, which has done a huge amount for the quality of design and the like of which is sorely lacking in Ireland.

    • #789345

      Gerry loves copper/copper effect, there’s some in every single development i can think of that he’s been involved with since the last 1990s

    • #789346

      Too low for copper; it works at five or six over basement but not with obvious penthouses so close to the ground

      It is a pity as his instructions were obviously high spec

    • #789347

      This developer is almost single handedly to blame for the copperisation of Galway City.
      Incidently another of his developments, a shopping complex off Castle street in Galway is also called Edward Square! He also now owns the former Great Souther Hotel and bizarely renamed it Hotel Meyrick.

    • #789348

      I think I’m over copper (but admittedly not as over it as stainless steel street furniture)!

    • #789349

      They should either do it right or not at all. If they required a mansard they should have done a pastiche in the French style. But that would have looked mighty bizarre, I’ll bet.

    • #789350

      I’ve been waiting for the past few years for this scheme to be finished, so it’s handy no pics are required 🙂
      It is possible to do relatively decent ‘modern twist’ reproductions – there’s the odd good example in the UK, as this stuff is still constantly being built over there, but usually in brick, and to better densities.

      The warm white render and crisp blue limestone in this scheme is most attractive, but the porches could do with being deeper and the windows less squat – not from a repro point of view, but because they generate the sense of a long low horizontal concrete shell with period features tacked on. A little more substance is required. And this is merely exacerbated by the penthouse storey – it makes the majority of the scheme so obviously a period cloak for a giant lump of concrete supporting the Costa Brava apartments above. And the copper at the very least should be lead.

      And the same regarding substance could be said of the square as a whole – indeed it’s not even a square: just four short terraces that have been roughly thrown together: there’s no sense of enclosure at some of the corners. It looks a like a holiday camp or short-term letting scheme, and especially with that horrible flat garden space – all the houses are eagerly facing out onto, well, nothing. There’s no sense of place, while the tree looks like the silly token gesture that it is with nothing around to complement it. It’s a pity, because there’s fairly decent substance to the main facades.

      Ironic the company’s name gave the square a regal ring :). At the same time though, have developers become so presumptuous as to start naming their developments after themselves? How about a Zoe Square, or Dunloe Ewart Avenue?

    • #945502

      I just don’t know why they didn’t go for a Fitzrovia scale design that was integrated in its approach there is no doubt that this scheme will be derided in a decade like 26 Fitzwilliam Place and whilst on that subject what is the storey with the giant v-board in the front garden opposite the kiosk that seems to have been there for about 18 months to advertise ‘short term lets’????


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