The conservation of Dublin’s architectural housing stock is key to maintaining the city’s iconic charm. What more could an architect wish for, than to piece together the conservation report on a Georgian gem that single-handedly offers a glimpse into the high noon of Victorian prosperity in Ireland? Studio Negri was delighted to create the conservation report and planning application for the change of use of ‘Marine House’ in Dun Laoghaire. Originally constructed for the staff of the Marine Hotel in 1860, Studio Negri is setting the wheels in motion for the property’s move back to residential status – restoring a part of Dublin’s heritage.
I have really enjoyed doing the research on the history of Dun Laoghaire,
Studio Negri’s Director, André, explained. The local importance of this 2-story over lower-ground basement property at the end of Haigh Terrace stems from its historical association with the Marine Hotel:
“which had a profound influence on the social, economic and physical fabric of the area”,
according to Studio Negri’s Conservation Report. Despite being built during Queen Victoria’s reign, Marine House displays typical Regency style architecture and is on the Record of Protected Structures in Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council’s Development Plan of 2010 – 2016.
Number 3 Haigh Terrace is currently derelict, but with the expert knowledge and sensitivity applied by Studio Negri at the planning stage, the property will be restored to its former glory, with a contemporary twist. Switching from the property’s previous use, from an office with two lower-level apartments,back to full residential use once again – while maintaining its historical integrity and working towards the client’s goals – requires the expertise of an architect with a Grade 3 accreditation in Conservation Architecture and André Negri has stepped up to the mark.
Conservation Architect: Studio Negri’s Findings
Studio Negri’s Conservation Report confirms that the Dun Laoghaire property
“appears structurally sound with no evidence of major significant movement of structural members”
“overall is in fair condition.”
However, it cites that the property needs various levels of repairs and maintenance works to be carried out along with upgrading/ improvement works, in particular, the electrical and mechanical system, specialised internal wall insulation along with the restoration and upgrading of windows.
Conservation Architecture: the Changes and Challenges for ‘Marine House’
In order to change the use of the property, the owners are seeking to demolish the existing three-story rear return and remove the fire-related signs and works implemented during its office conversion. A new three-story return will be constructed and the rear windows are set to be upgraded with double-glazed good quality hardwood sash windows. To bring this protected structure into the 21st century, specialised internal insulation will be used on external walls and solar panels will be installed to the rear of the main roof, linking to a new high-efficiency boiler.
“The most challenging part of the project is how to respect the existing house as much as possible, while at the same time give it a new lease of life.”
“In this case we are placing 50mm of Calcitherm insulation internally on all the external walls – this allows the walls to breathe while increasing the thermal performance. None of the original coving or skirting features exist in the house anymore so the insulation can be placed from floor to ceiling, as we are providing new recycled coving and skirting.”
“The design of the new return to the rear will completely change the nature of returns as they all currently have a steel external staircase added onto the back of the building to get up to the half landing. The new design allows access into the house directly from garden level and removes the external staircase.”
With the planning application submitted, it is hoped that the owners will be able to restore 3 Haigh Terrace’s rear to its original elegance with a renewed, unified style. As stated in the conservation report:
“All mentioned period features will be retained and restored. The proposed three storey structure to the rear will suit modern day living and have a coherent massing that will compliment the elegantly proportioned building.”