1st Edition

Irish Housing Design 1950 – 1980 Out of the Ordinary

Edited By Brian Ward, Michael Pike, Gary Boyd Copyright 2020
    260 Pages
    by Routledge

    260 Pages
    by Routledge

    This book examines the architectural design of housing projects in Ireland from the mid-twentieth century. This period represented a high point in the construction of the Welfare State project where the idea that architecture could and should shape and define community and social life was not yet considered problematic. Exploring a period when Ireland embraced the free market and the end of economic protectionism, the book is a series of case studies supported by critical narratives. Little known but of high quality, the schemes presented in this volume are by architects whose designs helped determine future architectural thinking in Ireland and elsewhere. Aimed at academics, students and researchers, the book is accompanied by new drawings and over 100 full colour images, with the example studies demonstrating rich architectural responses to a shifting landscape.

    List of figures

    About the editors

    About the contributors


    Irish Housing Design at the Crossroads

    Gary A. Boyd, Michael Pike and Brian Ward

    1 Housing Indigenous Industry: Bord na Mona settlements in the 1950s

    Carole Pollard

    2 ‘As easy as plugging in a fire’: Modernity, Morality and the Mespil Apartments 1958-72

    Gary A. Boyd

    3 The High Life: Ardoyne House, 1962–1967

    Kevin Donovan

    4 The Sharp Edge of Newness: Situating the Simmonscourt Apartments 1964 - 1966

    Aoibheann Ní Mhearáin and Brian Ward

    5 Shared Vision, Shared Courtyards: Dundanion Court, Cork 1964 – 1968

    Sarah Mulrooney

    6 An Architecture of Connections: the Ballybrack Cooperative 1969-72

    Brian Ward

    7 Castlepark: a vernacular architecture for modern Ireland 1969-72

    Brian Ward

    8 The Coombe North: Roads, Activism and an Architecture for Dublin’s Liberties


    Miriam Delaney

    9 The Expression of Method: Six Houses at Herbert Road 1976-1979

    Orla Murphy



    Gary A. Boyd is Professor and Head of Architecture at Queen’s University, Belfast. A Leverhulme Major Research Fellow (2018-2021), he was also project leader for a Getty Foundation Keeping it Modern award to conduct research on the conservation of St Brendan’s School, Birr by the architects Peter and Mary Doyle (2018-19). In 2014, he was joint commissioner-curator of Infra-Éireann – the Irish Pavilion at the Venice Architectural Biennale – and assumed a similar role in Making Ireland Modern which toured as part of the Irish Arts Council’s centennial celebrations in 2016. Written works include authoring Hospital, Spectacle and Vice: Dublin 1745-1922 (2005) and co-editing Ordnance: War + Architecture & Space (2013) and Infra Éireann: Infrastructure and the Architectures of Modernism in Ireland 1914-2014 (2015).


    Dr. Brian Ward is a lecturer in the Dublin School of Architecture at the Technological University Dublin. Having graduated from UCD Architecture, he worked with a number of award-winning practices in Ireland. His PhD examined the history of town planning in Edwardian Dublin, in particular the contributions of Raymond Unwin, CR Ashbee and John Nolen. Brian has contributed to various publications on modern architecture and town planning in Ireland. During 2019 he curated an exhibition on Marion Mahony Griffin for the Irish Architecture Foundation.


    Michael Pike is Assistant Professor in the School of Architecture, Planning and Environmental Policy, University College Dublin and a Director of GKMP Architects. In 2017 he completed a Research Masters on the work of the Catalan architect, José Antonio Coderch (1913-84). The work of GKMP Architects is primarily concerned with the design of domestic space, both individual houses and housing projects. The practice has received a significant number of architectural awards and has been exhibited and published internationally, including at the Venice Biennale 2018 and the Chicago Architecture Biennial 2015.