2 weeks ago

Eileen Gray’s E-1027 Restored + What’s New in Architecture

The Hanging Gardens by Carr Cotter Naessens and Denis Byrne Architects


In addition to the Downes Medal awarded to Grafton Architects, the Architectural Association of Ireland (AAI) also announced other Architecture Awards this February as well as Special Mentions. The purpose of the AAI Awards is to encourage higher standards of architecture throughout the country and to inform the public of emerging directions in contemporary architecture. With that in mind, the jury chose a university on a plateau in Paris, a travelling activation for Irish market towns, a domestic masterwork built around an Ash tree, an exemplary vernacular art space on an Aran Island, a piece of new urban fabric in Limerick and an affordable rapid-build social housing scheme in Dun Laoghaire.


Operation Paris Saclay pour l’Institut Mines-Télécom by Grafton Architects · George’s Place, Dun Laoghaire by DLR Architects and A2 Architects · The Hanging Gardens by Carr Cotter Naessens and Denis Byrne Architects · Art Room, Coláiste Naomh Éinne, Inis Mór by Paul Dillon Architects · Ash House by Sketch Architects · Free Market, Irish Pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale

Special Mentions were given for the following projects:

Candle Community by McGarry Ní Éanaigh Architects
Kearney House by Broadstone Architects
House at Dunmaniheen by Gottstein Architects
Music Room by Donaghy + Dimond Architects


When university life returns to normal, students at UCC will enjoy a fantastic new hub for student activities, designed to foster a sense of ownership, increase accessibility and provide an efficient and enjoyable service for students. Prior to the completion of the new UCC Student Hub, student services were distributed across 25 different campus locations. The new building also features performance spaces and a new home for the Students’ Union.

This was a complex project for architects O’Donnell + Tuomey, which involved the restoration and extension of a historic building of national importance, the stone-cut Windle Medical Building. The building occupies a central position within the campus setting and is a “Group 1 Category Building of Significance” within the Conservation Plan for the University and included on the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage. The architects also created a new public space between the Windle Building and the protected structure of the University Quadrangle Buildings which date from 1849.

O’Donnell + Tuomey are no strangers to working in challenging historic settings – from their IFI Cinema in Temple Bar, which brought together nine historic buildings including a Quaker Meeting House, to the extensive refurbishment of an entire urban block for the CEU University in Budapest.

At UCC, they have developed a site-specific sculptural concept for the architectural design, which uses the Windle Building as its organising element. The curved wall of the stone base responds to the established campus movement patterns. A large canopy signals the entrance and provides a new covered external space for the University. A new stone “arm” encloses a welcoming “Market Hall”, an active space where all life happens. Bridges and balconies crisscross and flank the Market Hall, activating and animating this student-led, technology-enabled adaptable space. A delicate vertical “lantern” is tailored in height to the neighbouring Quadrangle buildings and, in form, responds to lines of sight along approaching vistas and from key campus locations and perspectives. At night, this metal-clad lantern glows like a beacon when glimpsed obliquely from corners and approaches. www.odonnell-tuomey.ie

Photograph by Manuel Bougot


The Irish architect and furniture designer Eileen Gray (1878-1976) lived an extraordinary life at the heart of the avant-garde in Paris. She also spent significant periods of time on the French Riviera. Her former home, E-1027, overlooking the shores of Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, is considered an architectural masterpiece and a piece of Ireland in France.

Eileen Gray’s iconic modernist villa (once lived in by Le Corbusier) went through a period of serious decline in the latter half of the 20th century. The walls were used as target practice by the Nazis, it became a home for squatters and almost fell into the sea due to the extent of structural damage. Later this summer, extensive renovations of E-1027 will be complete and visitors to Cap Martin will be able to see and enjoy the iconic house returned to its former glory.

Under the care of the non-profit Association Cap Moderne, E-1027 has been meticulously restored, including essential structural work and the recreation, using her original materials and methods, of much of Gray’s fixed and free-standing furnishings. The Office of Public Works (OPW) has contributed funds towards the making of a number of Eileen Gray furniture pieces – including her former desk – which are now in production. The Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI) is also supporting a fundraising campaign to aid the restoration of the villa (see riai.ie for more details). Following the completion of the renovation, E-1027 will be handed over by Cap Moderne to the Centre des Monuments Nationaux in France. For more information see: www.capmoderne.com/en.


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