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RIAI architectural award for 14 Henrietta Street


Published 01 March 2024

At 14 Henrietta Street, we aim to protect, share and add to the cultural life of the city. We tell stories, make connections, and uncover history.

One of the primary ways we do this is through our collection.

A significant part of our collection is made up of the building itself, which is over 300 years old. The restoration and conservation of the building was led and funded by Dublin City Council, with additional support from a Centenaries Capital Grant from the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.

The 14 Henrietta Street conservation project employed expert craftspeople in the area of specialist stone repairs; wrought iron repairs; wallpaper conservation and reproduction; linoleum reproduction; specialist joinery repairs and new joinery; specialist historic paint and surface finishes; specialist decorative plasterwork (cleaning; repairs; restoration); lime plaster and render (including renewal and repair); and repairs to mid-to-late 20th century tiled fireplaces guided by the Conservation Architect appointed by Dublin City Council to lead on the project management of this work.

We adopt a preventive conservation approach in caring for the building which means we observe, monitor, and analyse the collection and its environment to make informed decisions on how to best preserve and protect it.

Memories and stories are an important part of our collection. This includes archival material such as photographs and documents in addition to oral histories and research. We continue to collect oral histories relating to Dublin life and the life of its people, primarily through Your Tenement Memories.

Our collection features many objects - both those you see on display when you visit the museum, and also those kept in storage. Original objects of social, civic, industrial and historical significance relating to the social history of the house are displayed in the rooms of the house. These objects help to tell the story of the times they represent. A smaller part of the collection are the artistic responses you will see on the guided tour of the house.

The Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI) has awarded Shaffrey Architects with the Silver Medal for Conservation and Restoration for its work on 14 Henrietta Street.

Our building was awarded for "exemplifying innovation and architectural ingenuity in conserving and restoring Ireland's cultural and built heritage".

The medal is the highest award for buildings that have undergone a process of conservation and restoration and is awarded to an Architect or architectural practise for projects of significant merit completed within a specified three-year period. The medal is awarded several years after completion so that the success of the building can be confirmed by the passage of time.

The jury noted that

"... the team had skilfully charted the difficult task of conveying three hundred years of history and change, while still managing to be contemporary in approach. With decision making informed by research, there is a fine balance of conservation, repair and modern intervention."

Upon receiving the medal Gráinne Shaffrey of Shaffrey Architects said:

“This unique project is primarily about telling the story of a remarkable building in a remarkable street which has much wider resonance and meaning. We were involved in the architectural recovery of Number 14 since 2005 and so to have been awarded in such a manner by our peers brings us great joy.

We see the Silver Medal as also acknowledging the significant collaborative endeavour of this project, with Dublin City Council as supportive and ambitious client, with our design team colleagues, the contractors and craftspeople through all stages, the researchers, curators, poets and oral history team and, above all, the generosity of former residents and community who wholeheartedly engaged with this project.”

“I want to congratulate Dublin City Council on this prestigious award. The extensive conservation and refurbishment work that has been carried out has returned this magnificent building to the people of Dublin.

They and visitors alike have been able to visit and experience this unique social history museum, since it opened to the public in 2018. Its enduring success is a testament to the quality of the building’s conservation and the unique approach taken by the City Council to the interpretation of the history of the house and the families who once lived there.”
                                                                                                                 - Lord Mayor of Dublin Daithí de Róiste. 

Making a Museum, is a series of videos that takes a look at some of the key historical research, conservation and restoration work that went in to creating 14 Henrietta Street. In this short film we look at the work that went in to building the staircase.

Heritage Officer with Dublin City Council, Charles Duggan has overseen work to the house since 2007. He said:

“The acknowledgement of this unique project by the RIAI is a testament to the foresight and courage of Dublin City Council for commencing work on the house in 2008 and persevering through the depths of the recession.

The award honours the professionalism and tireless dedication of Shaffrey Architects with whom the City Council worked closely for ten years to bring this house back to life. It also recognises the hard work and skill of Gem Construction and their craftsmen.

Most importantly, it celebrates the support of the house's community of former residents who shared with us their memories and insights enriching our understanding of this deeply special place."

Also recognised by the RIAI was the National Gallery of Ireland’s Historic Wings Refurbishment by Heneghan Peng Architects and Blackwood Associates Architects.

The conservation of 14 Henrietta Street has already been recognised with a number of awards:

RIAI Irish Architecture Awards 2018
Winner Best Conservation / Restoration Project
Winner Best Overall Project

Mies van Der Rohes Award 2019
EU Prize for Contemporary Architecture - shortlisted

Irish Georgian Society Architecture Conservation Awards 2019

Thank you to the jury at the Royal Irish Institute of the Architects of Ireland, to its President Sean McMahon and to all the team at Shaffrey Architects and Dublin City Council Heritage Office.

Tomas OConnor OPW Charles Duggan DCC Grainne Shaffrey cConor Healy
Grainne Shaffrey Kevin Blackwood Roisin Heneghan cConor Healy2