Mount Saint Anne’s is one of the largest mixed use, up market, private redevelopment projects in inner suburban Dublin. Located on 9.2 hectares/22 acres of institutionally zoned land, the site was previously the mother house for a religious order of nuns and a working farm. The community included a primary and a secondary school, a number of listed convent buildings, a chapel and numerous outbuildings. The site adjoins a local Parish church and is situated between a busy primary commuter road to the East with local bus services, a Luas light rail line on the Western boundary and local schools and their playing fields to the North and the South. Due to its elevated position overlooking a local river, the site is visually dominant in the local neighbourhood.
The scheme is a development, in two phases, of 650 dwellings and 2,000 Sqm of non- residential uses including offices and shops, a medical clinic, a crèche, a gym, a Parish hall and some priest’s accommodation. There are a total of 480 apartments and 170 family houses and duplexes with an average density of 75 dwellings per hectare / 30 dwellings per acre. The apartments and houses are designed to target all sectors of the market from 1 bed apartments appealing to the single person up to large 5 bedroom houses for growing families.
A key element in the design is the restoration and reuse of all the major existing Victorian buildings together with key trees and landscape features. The original c. 1760 Milltown House has been restored, retaining all surviving interior plasterwork and staircases, for use as offices. The Chapel, built in the 1880’s has also been converted into offices. The listed primary school has been reconfigured for family apartments and a 1950s secondary school building is converted to sheltered housing accommodation.
The urban form of the layout has at its centre a large, intensively landscaped new 2 hectare/ 4.5 acre park, providing different zones of activity and treatment and incorporating fine stands of existing mature trees. The site is accessed and serviced for its entire width by a formal avenue which crosses the site to the north of the new park from the north eastern corner and links to a series of side streets, courtyards and gardens which are clear and legible, descending in scale and moving from public to semi-public, to the private domain. The park is enclosed and defined about its four edges by 4, 5 and 6 storey apartment buildings, which have living rooms and inset balconies at upper levels overlooking the green space and ground floor apartments with generous patios and zones of privacy planting defining the public and private boundaries to its edges.
In this first phase of development on 8 hectares/ 18 acres of the site , the retained and converted convent buildings located near the site entrance are linked and combined to new apartment blocks via a full height naturally lit atrium and over- look the southern and eastern edges of the park.
A further atrium type apartment building is sited on the western side of the park and the enclosure is completed on the east side with a long cranked block incorporating 9 service cores and forming 9 front doors to the main access avenue . Terraces of 2 and 3 storey houses and duplex units, ranging in size from 1 bed apartments to 5 bed dwellings overlook the pocket parks, curved streets and mews squares along the northern and western sides of the site.
The second phase of development on approximately 1.75 hectares / 4.4 acres of the site provided the opportunity to create a new street frontage onto the adjoining busy Milltown Road. New 5 storey buildings, with retail units at street level and private and social apartments above, were placed on either side of a local parish church to create a new neighbourhood amenity and reinforce the existing village pattern. Immediately behind this new street frontage the site rises steeply by approximately 10 meters before levelling out. Advantage is taken of this level change to insert basement parking and a Crèche into the slope of the site with laneways and public steps accessing the upper levels from the public street. Stepping up another level behind the Crèche, 12 terraced town houses were created in two staggered blocks overlooking a landscaped garden located on the roof of the Crèche and basement car park. This space sports a series of brightly coloured screens around the roof lights to the crèche below. The final level change, to three storeys above the street level, defines the wholly residential and more private part of the site. Three new 5 storey apartment blocks accommodate a majority of dual-aspect two and three bedroom units and a limited number of single-aspect one bed units where the circulation configuration dictates. Private terraces are provided at ground level while balconies and winter gardens dominate the southern and western elevations of the blocks. Landscaped courtyards between the buildings extend out to the rear boundary of the site. Main car parking is provided below ground and located under and between the apartments.
Throughout the scheme, family housing and duplexes are constructed traditionally and finished in buff stock brick, pigmented plaster external walls and grey tiled roofs. However the apartment buildings are constructed using Modern Methods of Construction. An innovative prefabricated concrete structural system was designed by OMP in conjunction with Engineers DBFL to radically accelerate the construction programme and to ensure an enhanced quality .Etched precast façade panels were used on all the apartment blocks and Prefabricated Pod bathrooms and kitchens were used extensively in the second phase of development.
Underground parking is provided for all the apartments and offices, while the other dwellings have surface car parking.