14 Henrietta Street | Georgian townhouse to tenement dwelling

14 Henrietta Streetwins Best Conservation / Restoration Project and Best Overall Project at RIAI Irish Architecture Awards

Former tenement house will open for advance tours in July

The conservation of a former tenement house at 14 Henrietta Street in Dublin’s north inner city has been named Best Conservation/Restoration Project, and has won the Special RIAI Jury Award at the prestigious annual RIAI Irish Architecture Awards.

A home to Dublin’s social history, 14 Henrietta Streetwill officially open to the public in September. Ittells the story of tenement life in Dublin, and its origins, through the life-cycle of what was once a home to the elite of the city. Visiting the house opens a door to nearly 300 years of the city’s life, from a grand townhouse of the 1750s to a tenement building from the 1880s to the 1970s, which, in 1911, was home to 100 people from 17 families.

The painstaking conservation work at the Dublin City Council-owned building was carried out over a 10-year period, spearheaded by Shaffrey Architects, who were named winners of the RIAI Irish Architecture Awards, with their client Dublin City Council. In awarding Best Conservation/Restoration Project, the RIAI 2018 Jury said: “Peeling back the layers of history, the restoration and refurbishment of 14 Henrietta Street is an architectural story book. Revealing the lives of those who have lived there through the years has resulted in an inspirational and engaging museum building. Carefully inserting contemporary necessities without resorting to the pastiche is both respectful and exciting. Skill, craft, innovative conservation, historical examination and complex decision making are all evident in upgrading for public use and exposing the tiers of change over the centuries. This is an exemplary project that is enabling the past to live anew and bringing the future to its doorstep.”

Bookings are now being taken for advance tours on Fridays and Saturdays in July and August, and then more regularly from 15th September onwards.

Awarding the Special Jury Award, the Jury said: “This is a gift to the city of Dublin, made possible by an inspiring client and a highly skilled team of architects and contractor. Architecture and exhibition design merge here in a very unique way, explaining the history of the building by restoring different parts of the building to different periods of its occupancy. Most impressive is the way the architect manages to bring the building up to contemporary technical and regulatory standards in an almost invisible way, making the experience of the building completely immersive. Outstanding.”

Commenting on the double win, assistant chief executive of Dublin City Council, Richard Shakespeare said: “When Dublin City Council undertook to save and renovate 14 Henrietta Streetmore than a decade ago it was in a derelict state. I congratulate our heritage, architecture and conservation teams and Shaffrey Architects for their sympathetic treatment of this building, ensuring that both it and this important steetscape have been retained, and that the story of 14 Henrietta Street is told in such an engaging manner.”

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 Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland 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. The award gives recognition to the hard work and skill of Gem Construction and their team of craftsmen. Furthermore, the award underscores the importance of the research-led approach to design and conservation that we adopted from the outset and most importantly it celebrates the valued 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."

Architect 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 have been involved in the architectural recovery of 14 Henrietta Street since 2005 and so to have been awarded in such a manner by our peers brings us great joy. The awards also acknowledge the significant collaborative endeavour this has been, with Dublin City Council a 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.”

While 14 Henrietta Street will officially open in September 2018, advance tours are available on Fridays and Saturdays in July and August, with an opportunity for the visitors to feed back their memories, stories and reflections. Tickets (€9 adult / €6 concession) for the 90-minute tour should be booked in advance at www.14henriettastreet.ie

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