Five Storey Maisonettes
Appraisal and recommendations for Dublin social housing blocks
We were commissioned by Dublin City Council to assess options for addressing one of the most common types of social housing blocks that exist throughout the city. Designed by the Dublin city architect, Daithí P. Hanly, in the late 1950’s, these ‘five storey maisonettes’ are best known for their cylindrical stair towers and ‘gullwing’ roof profiles. Many of them have fallen into disrepair and some have been earmarked for demolition. Our task was to investigate one such block in a systematic manner and test various levels of intervention, ranging from minimal thermal retrofit to complete demolition and redevelopment.
Our recommendation, featured here, would involve a deep retrofit of the existing block (including amalgamation of existing flats and extensions) and a new infill block to provide additional accommodation.
When designing the retrofit of the existing block, our aim was to retain as much of the existing structure as possible, while providing well designed spaces that meet current space standards.
After looking extensively at the existing structure, our recommended proposal extends into the existing access decks to the rear which occur on the first and third levels and also into the existing balconies to the front, which are currently cramped and small. New larger, lightweight metal balconies and access walkways are then added.
This allows us to greatly improve the space standard inside, while working with the 3.9m grid structure of the building. It also allows us to preserve the embodied energy of the building.
The resulting apartments are open plan, bright and spacious with a better connection to the street.
Project Type Appraisal + Recommendation
Location North Inner City Dublin
The typical five storey maisonette block has a distinctive facade with recessed balconies, a gullwing roof, clinker brick gables ends with hexagonal windows and a playful gargoil detail. The main access and circulation takes place from the stair towers and access decks to the rear. The building has a series of continuous spine walls at 3.9m intervals which dictate the sizes of the individual apartments. In our case study block, there are 38 units in total of which 2 are bedsits.