Elizabeth O’Farrell House
This series of projects saw the complete refurbishment of Elizabeth O’Farrell House, a 1940s North Dublin City Centre Public Office Building named after the Nurse responsible for delivering the notice of surrender across the front lines during the 1916 Rising. The building had suffered vandalism and lay largely vacant prior to our involvement, and a strategic plan was developed by PAC Studio for the incremental refurbishment, maintenance and re-inhabitation by various public health facilities of the building.
A new stair and accessible lift core formed in precast concrete, terrazzo flooring and brass rails was inserted into the building in to give a lighter, more open and becoming atmosphere to the entrance areas, whilst the material selections are cognisant of durability and the daily ‘wear and tear’ of this busy public building.
In the second phase, the upper floors were upgraded to provide office and examination suites for public Medical Review and Assessment Services; by adding an internal hardwood and double glazed screen within the existing aluminium envelope, a ‘double facade’ zone has been created to buffer thermal comfort and to improve energy performance of the building holistically. This double facade zone is now being appropriated by planting by the staff, generating further microclimates – a breathing building. This also allowed the external security grilles to be removed, much improving the public perception of this as a civic, community facility within the context of the north city centre.
The facade improvements included a series of repairs and maintenance works to the exterior concrete frame, and electrolytic technologies have been deployed to prevent corrosion of the reinforced concrete frame. The facades were painted using specialist silicate paints, to chemically bond with the concrete finishes, thus providing further protection and durability over the prolonged life of the building.
PAC Studio developed an installation of folded plates of bronzed aluminium doves, derived from the logo for the Department of Social Welfare, to swoop across the facade panels to the north section of the building; their folded surfaces shimmer in the morning light, the golden tones replicated in new external signage.
A new Homeless Persons Unit in the lower ground floor of the of the centre completes the facilities, incorporating specially-designed furniture accommodates the public interview process. Natural materials are used to bring warmth to the space, whilst at this level the ceilings are removed to regulate thermal flux in the working environment.
Refurbished facade along North Cumberland Street
Detail of new hardwood sliding sash windows behind original aluminium screens
Dove sculptures reflect glimmering flashes of sunlight
Interior stairwells formed in precast concrete flights with inset terrazzo treads and brass rails
Interior office space with restored parquet floor and matching hardwood interior screens
Entrance tower, new lift and stair core within
New ramped public access at entrance areas
Detail of Original Doorway