Model Housing – Urban Horticulture

Our proposal is formed by a study of a defined inner city neighbourhood to demonstrate how new opportunities may be found for (re-)inhabitation and enriched living environments within the urban grain of Irish towns and cities.

The neighbourhood of the Liberties, situated on the fringes of the historic core of Dublin, has been selected for its varied pattern of settlement and ever-evolving use and demographics; and for the consequent layering of infrastructure and variety of living environments and housing/building types, within a relatively low-rise but densely occupied urban context. It offers a range of conditions and opportunities that may be seen as typical of Irish urban situations of different scales.

Through an examination of historic occupancies, and a closer reading of existing city fabric, we reveal an array of typical and particular conditions that are currently untapped, and we develop proposals to expand existing living and working infrastructures, and thereby contribute to the long-term resilience of communities. A means, or tool kit, is created for ‘gardening’ our inherited plots and building stock, in a process of pruning, grafting and companion planting; a kind of urban horticulture.


We estimate a mix of potential new units: 336 new dwellings and 250 rehabilitated dwellings for continued use. Stipulated in this, is that each dwelling would have more than one aspect; it must have a threshold zone between front door and street; access to covered (shared) external space; and access to its own private external space.

Project Team

Marcus Donaghy (Donaghy and Dimond Architects)
Will Dimond (Donaghy and Dimond Architects)
Beibhinn Delaney (Donaghy and Dimond Architects)
Joe Moran (Donaghy and Dimond Architects)

Dr Alan Mee
Prof. Finola O’Kane Crimmins


Noah Brabazon


UCD School of Architecture Planning and Environmental Policy
Meath Estate
Ecological Building Systems
Irish Architectural Archive

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