Building Societies

In March 2021, the Bank of Ireland announced the closure of 103 regional branches, fundamentally altering the physical, social and economic landscape of Irish towns. As these unique bank buildings were parcelled up for sale, we began to consider their legacy and latent potential.

Our idea reacts to the supply crisis within the housing market and reimagines the value and currency of these bank buildings as
urban vessels, within which housing opportunities can be explored. Firstly, for homes in the upper floors above the bank premises, and secondly, through opening the generous banking hall as a covered free space that unlocks backland housing sites and space for wild nature, play and urban growing. We propose to recast the built artefacts of the infamous Irish banking system to deliver sustainable, beautiful homes and communal spaces that augment and enhance the urban fabric and ritual of everyday life in Irish towns. In this way, perhaps we can begin Building Societies.


The reuse of Bank of Ireland branches across the entire country has the possibility to create 620 units. Unlocking the potential of backlands adjacent to, and behind, these bank sites would yield approximately a further 5,300 units.

Project Team

Tom Cookson (Architect)
Sarah Carroll (Architect)


Alan Meredith Studio

Audio Description

More Exhibitors