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Competitions Archive

Dublin’s Parlour Design Competition


  • Harry Crosbie, CEO, Point Village Ltd.
  • Dick Gleeson, Dublin City Planner, Dublin City Council
  • John McLaughlin, Director of Architecture, Dublin Docklands Development Authority
  • Kilian Skay, Architect, Dublin City Council
  • Peter McHale, Partner, Bruce Shaw Partnership
  • Denis Byrne, Denis Byrne Architects


The Assessors were impressed by the range and quality of the 46 responses to a challenging and complex brief.

The requirements of the promoters, while differing in complexity from a building design brief, were quite specific in intent.

Most elements of the brief were satisfied by the majority of submissions but a significant number undervalued the changing stage event / festival character required for the space, similarly the importance of the space containment to east and west with the possibility of providing weather control from the west wind was not exploited in many submissions.

It was the unanimous decision of the assessors that submission 45 was the clear winner.

Winner: LiD Architecture
Winner: Submission 45 – LiD Architecture (www.lid-architecture.net)

This submission’s simple, strong, clear idea effortlessly addresses the brief. The assessors felt that this solution displayed high levels of flexibility, adaptability and toughness in use. The design resonates powerfully with docklands and embraces the temporary nature of the challenge.

The basic, building block can be configured endlessly, demonstrating variations for solid and void, for dramatic and lighting purposes and for the integration of varied art forms.

The creative use of this cheap and available building unit facilitates a flexible architecture explored in the stage, containing walls and vertical features.

The refinement of the idea should allow the full potential of the project to emerge in terms of colour, linings and lighting.

Four submissions were commended by the assessors. In numerical order these were submissions numbered 13, 16, 34 and 42.

David Wright Architects / Derek Murphy Architects
Commended: Submission 13 – David Wright Architects / Derek Murphy Architects (www.davidwright.ie; www.derekmurphyarchitects.com)

The assessors felt this proposal creatively addressed most aspects of the brief. The use of bamboo as a cheap, renewable and dramatic material as a building element embraced the spirit of the temporary challenge. The scale of the western portal provides a civic and iconic entering point from the Luas which sets up the successful language of containment for the whole square. The movable furniture and matting develops the metaphor of the Parlour as public living room on non-event days.

McGarry NiEanaigh
Commended: Submission 16 – McGarry Ní Éanaigh Architects (www.mcgnie.ie)

The solution evokes a strong association with the maritime and port location using the material and technology of masts and sails. The assessors felt the design was an elegant and restrained response which successfully captured the temporary and festival nature of the brief. The orange curtain and angled masts provide a powerful theatrical container with dramatic lighting possibilities.

Heneghan Peng Architects
Commended: Submission 34 – Heneghan Peng Architects (www.hparc.com)

The assessors liked the simplicity and strength of concept in this submission. A practical and poetic idea using catenary and canopy to form a sky filigree supporting lighting, screens and other functions. This inexpensive idea utilises proven technology capable of use elsewhere in the city.

Commended: Submission 42 – NEX (www.nex-architecture.com)

The assessors felt this was an elegant solution that is strongly held together by the organic and sculptural forms. The stage and surround is a powerful focus, successfully complemented by the ground sculpture and containing pavilions and screens. The beautifully executed images provided a strong visual argument.