Design Team Selected

July 18th 2014 Parnell Square Reflection. Image copyright Dublin City Council (Photographer Greg Dunn)

Design Team selected for Parnell Square Cultural Quarter Redevelopment

Dublin City Council and the Parnell Square Foundation are pleased to announce, that Grafton Architects + Shaffrey Associates, has been selected as the preferred Design Team to deliver on an ambitious design brief set for the redevelopment of Parnell Square Cultural Quarter (PSCQ), as a new cultural landmark for Dublin.

The centre-piece of the Quarter will be the development of over 11,000m2, anchored by a new City library which will offer a mix of cultural facilities for Dublin at the former Coláiste Mhuire site and some adjacent properties. Seed capital for the project is being provided by international real estate investment and services company, Kennedy Wilson, on a philanthropic basis. The company, which has its main European office in Dublin, will continue to provide expertise to assist in management and funding of the development through the Parnell Square Foundation.

The proposed appointment follows a public procurement process to select an outstanding architect-led multi-disciplinary design team, capable of providing all the architectural, conservation, engineering and contract management services required, to deliver on the redevelopment vision.

It is anticipated that design work to planning application will be completed for submission by early Summer 2015.

Welcoming the announcement

Lord Mayor Christy Burke, welcoming the announcement said, ‘this is a significant milestone in the redevelopment of Parnell Square, a cultural and historic gem right on our doorstep. This is the first and finest of our Georgian Squares and this project will invigorate the North Inner City, acting I’m sure as a catalyst to promote further economic and social regeneration in other areas of the City. It is great to see that a series of public meetings and workshops which took place over the past 12 months, involving all stakeholders from different social, economic and cultural perspectives, has informed the commissioning of the design and final design brief. I look forward to seeing the vision for the Square being captured in the design by Grafton Architects + Shaffrey Associates and I wish them every success in bringing the project to fruition’.

Peter Collins, Managing Director, Kennedy Wilson Europe said: “Kennedy Wilson is proud to be involved with this visionary development for Dublin city. As a company we are committed to supporting public projects in the cities in which we are based, that will have a genuine positive impact on the residents of those cities. Kennedy Wilson is committed to providing a lasting legacy for the people of Dublin.”

According to Ali Grehan, City Architect, ‘It is recognition of the strength of Irish design that Grafton Architects with Shaffrey Associates are successful in a very talented field of national and international practices to deliver this pivotal project. The Parnell Square development offers a unique opportunity to marry our signature historic Dublin architecture with a new 21st century architecture to create something extraordinary for all Dubliners.’

City Librarian, Margaret Hayes said, ‘I am delighted to welcome the selection of the Design Team for this exciting project. With their experience, creativity and vision, I believe that Grafton Architects +Shaffrey Associates will work with us to deliver a world class and welcoming City Library of which the people of Dublin can be proud. I look forward to working with them to realise the vision for this exciting project.’

Yvonne Farrell representing Grafton Architects + Shaffrey Associates said, ‘on behalf of Grafton Architects + Shaffrey Architects and our whole Design Team, we are delighted and honoured to have been chosen for this prestigious Project. This is a real belief in city and in imagination! Belief in cities is expressed by making public space and public buildings. This Project to revitalise the Parnell Square Cultural Quarter has a City Library at its core. A City Library says so much about a city. It shows how a city values citizens, from its most senior to its youngest. This type of Project is a real civic investment. The task is to make architecture unique to Dublin, which will add a 21st. century layer to beautiful, south-facing 18th century buildings.’

Parnell Monument

A landmark destination

PSCQ will be a landmark destination which will complete the Civic Spine of Dublin at its northern end. The Civic Spine route includes the Grafton Street and Henry Street prime retail areas, important third level institutions and major cultural and tourism destinations. It will also be the connecter for extending this route north into the new Dublin Institute of Technology Campus at Grangegorman.

A mix of new buildings and renovated historic buildings, integrated with the existing Dublin City Gallery, The Hugh Lane will emerge from the project. The complex of historic buildings is of high architectural significance and will require appropriate care in its design treatment. The north side of Parnell Square will be re-landscaped to provide a high quality external public events space. Grafton Architects + Shaffrey Associates bring a wealth of expertise to deliver the challenging design brief, merging contemporary design with the conservation, adaptation and extension of an historic Georgian terrace and new buildings in this City centre setting.

The former Coláiste Mhuire buildings are currently in the process of being transferred from the Office of Public Works to Dublin City Council. Again we thank the OPW for their great co-operation in helping to make the project a reality. Dublin City Council is the owner of the Hugh Lane Gallery situated between the Coláiste Mhuire buildings and Numbers 20-21 Parnell Square. It is intended that the Hugh Lane Gallery will form part of the overall Parnell Square Cultural offering and it will be significantly enhanced and its role and impact expanded by the development of this new City Library/Cultural Centre.

The additional members of the multi-disciplinary team include

  • Landscape Architect: Bernard Seymour Landscape Architect and Karen Foley
  • Conservation Architect: Shaffrey Associates
  • Structural & civil, mechanical & electrical and acoustic engineers: Arup
  • Health & Safety PSDP: Willis Risk Management


The vision for the cultural quarter is set out in the Parnell Square Cultural Quarter Vision Document April 2013.




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