Donnybrook House

An extensive re-model and expansion of a 1970’s brutalist office building.

Henry J Lyons has extensively re-modelled and expanded a 1970’s brutalist office building on Donnybrook road. Formerly an AIB banking centre, the building had been vacant for a number of years. Recognising the potential of the site, it was acquired by U+I Developments in 2014. A sustainable and holistic approach followed, retaining and celebrating the existing architecture, and transforming the site to create a crafted and contemporary development with a more meaningful connection to the surrounding Donnybrook area.

Client U+I
Location Donnybrook Road, Dublin 4
Year 2018
Size 8,500m²
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Regenerating an unloved building.

The quality of the existing architecture at Donnybrook House offered an opportunity to reuse and regenerate an unloved building into a high quality contemporary building, in line with current standards and with a distinct character. The existing brick facade and external concrete has been cleaned and repaired to extend the lifespan of the structure and refresh the external fabric. All glazing has been replaced with floor to ceiling windows, revealing the strong rhythm of the existing concrete fin structure and maximizing transparency. A series of full height glazed bays at ground floor create impactful retail units, while a canopy entrance marks the office reception. These new retail activities and the transparent reception entrances serve to animate the building frontage and provide a clear identity for the building.

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Internally, the existing in-situ concrete panels and columns have been sandblasted to reveal the aggregate and traces of the building’s past. Their raw and rough textures are juxtaposed to the new additions, defined with sharp detailing and sophisticated finishes. This restrained palette of oak and steel provide a canvas for a carefully crafted layer of premium finishes, including furniture, lighting and fittings. The generous reception area, offers areas for informal meetings and visual connection to street level.

The existing plan was incoherent with poor connections between the 1970’s and 1980’s buildings. An extension over first and second floor links the 5 storey office block with the lower block to the North-West, around a landscaped courtyard that acts as a lightwell and was a welcome opportunity for additional floor area. A level of penthouse office accommodation has been added to the Donnybrook Road frontage; framing the views of the Wicklow Mountains, signalling the comprehensive refurbishment and new aesthetic for the building and creating additional good quality floor area.

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Communal areas offered an opportunity for vibrant and playful colours.

Whilst the office areas have a monotone palette the communal areas offered an opportunity for vibrant and playful colours of orange and baby blue. This colour palette is continued in the bespoke signage system, which was designed to compliment and to be implemented across the broad range of surfaces in both the old and new buildings. A graphic language was developed that aligned with the buildings purpose, utilising two graphic elements – an industrial typeface and an interchanging pattern.

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Would you like to know
more about this project?
Get in touch with Richard Doorly