The site of .5 acre, occupies a prominent location on Fitzwilliam Quay, overlooking the River Dodder in Dublin. The area has been undergoing a transformation over recent years as industrial and warehousing sites have made way for residential developments, revitalising the centre of an inner suburban village. The Fitzwilliam Quay scheme comprises 55 units with a small retail unit/café on the river front.
Owing to the constrained frontage of the site, alternative configurations were explored to exploit the river views for the maximum number of apartments. The configuration chosen proposes two bookend buildings to ‘finish off’ the blocks of the existing development to the south while a long building stretches along the north edge of the site. The buildings proposed are four stories generally while the long building steps up to six stories to provide a punctuation at the step in the building line along the river.
The configuration makes a visual connection from the courtyard to the river and adds visual interest along the river frontage, breaking the continuous frontage and offering a glimpse of the scheme within to the passer-by. The configuration also allows the scheme to ‘borrow’ the garden of the adjoining scheme to the south, thereby extending the amenity of the scheme and opening up views to the bay and mountains in the distance.
The bookend buildings are oriented east-west to protect the privacy of the other apartments. A series of own-door interlocking apartment duplexes at the lower levels sit below large duplex units at the upper levels, accessed by bridge from the long building.
The long building comprises a series of stair and lift cores with dual aspect apartments. All living areas are to the south and have full height sliding screens behind a continuous balustrade, allowing the living areas to act as balconies overlooking the courtyard. The uppermost level apartments have stairs rising from the dining areas to studies opening onto private roof terraces. A simple palette of materials, Staffordshire blue brick, render and galvanized steel steelwork acknowledge the industrial history of the site
The courtyard is enlivened by stairs cascading from the buildings, double height entrance halls and bridges overhead to reinforce its role as the focal or meeting point for the residents. A collage of cobbles, hardwood decking and gravel beds mark territory and define the outdoor space of individual units while large planters and pots with semi-mature trees relax the composition.