Architecture and the City

Edited by
The Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland
Dr. Sandra O'Connell
Noel J. Brady
Foreword by
Mary Robinson
Dublin By Design

An illustrated history of the development of Dublin city through the last century. There is a particular focus on its role as Ireland's capital since independence 100 years ago, as well as on architectural planning. In association with the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI).

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240 pages
280x240 mm

No single book can capture the multifarious characteristics of a city. Dublin by Design, by celebrating the city’s architectural and urban works, reveals a fascinating story of the making and remaking of its fabric. Marking one hundred years since the city’s trajectory shifted as it emerged as the capital of a newly minted free state, the contributors reveal some of the layers of this complex tapestry that provide the back story to its iconic structures, streets and spaces. Lending reason to the haphazard, and clarity to the interplay of culture, science, technology, religion and politics, a new brightly lit capital city is revealed.  Interwoven through this story are images of the significant contribution that architecture has made to the public realm.  If the last one hundred years are a measure, the next hundred will see Dublin impacted by economic, environmental and physical challenges. 

Contributors Dr. Mary Clark (City Archivist), Gráinne Shaffrey, Frederick O’Dwyer, Dr Brian Ward, Anthony Reddy, Dr Ellen Rowley, Frank McDonald, Shane O’Toole, Paul de Freine, Jackie Bourke, Dr Lorcan Sirr, Gerry Cahill, James Pike, Éanna NÍ Lamhna, Dr Denis Byrne, Sean O’Laoire, and Shelly McNamara & Yvonne Farrell (Grafton Architects)

Heavily illustrated with plans, drawings and photographs. In association with The Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI).

Foreword – Mary Robinson 

Introduction – Noel Brady & Dr Sandra O’Connell 

From Whence We Came

  • Civitas to Metropolis – Dr Mary Clark 
  • Main Street Ireland – Gráinne Shaffrey 
  • Victorian Foundations – Frederick O’Dwyer 
  • Neo-Georgian Dublin – Dr Brian Ward 
  • City of Opportunity – Tony Reddy 

A Phoenix Reborn

  • Mid-twentieth-century Architectonics – Dr Ellen Rowley 
  • Condemnation, Damnation & Salvation – Frank McDonald 
  • A Small But Significant City – Shane O’Toole 

History of the Future

The Movement of People

  • Moving Iron and Soul – Anne Kiernan 
  • Mobilising an Urbanised Capital – Ciaran Cuffe 

The Foundation for Health

  • The Healthy City – Paul de Freine 
  • Children in the City – Dr Jackie Bourke 

The Gathering of Community

  • Housing Success From Failure – Dr Lorcan Sirr 
  • Creating Communities of Care – Gerry Cahill 
  • The Polycentric City – James Pike 

The Green City

  • Trees, Rivers, Parks, Islands, Shore – Éanna Ní Lamhna 
  • Phoenix Park: An Anthropogenic Odyssey – Dr Denis Byrne 

The Place of Culture

  • Annalivia – Sean O’Laoire 
  • The Measure of a City – Grafton Architects 

Next Generation Architecture 


Mary Robinson was president of Ireland from 1990 to 1997, and UN High Commissioner for Human rights from 1997 to 2002. She has had many significant roles in international leadership, focusing on climate justice, human rights and women's rights. Earlier in her career, as a barrister, she represented the protesters occupying Wood Quay, the Viking heart of Dublin, and was instrumental in having it declared a national monument.

For the architects, historians and sociologists in the family, get Dublin by Design. Edited by Noel Brady and Sandra O'Connell (O'Brien Press, €29.99), it's an informative history of Dublin and its evolution, beautifully illustrated with archive and contemporary images. With contributions from a range of influential people, including Mary Robinson, and Pritzker-prize winning architects Yvonne Fallon and Shelley McNamara, it discusses the direction in which we are heading with the city. Not light reading but extremely informative

Sunday Independent

Dublin by Design unfolds a fascinating story … Meticulously and lavishly illustrated, Dublin by Design will be pored over by fans of architecture and those passionate about planning … Further chapters take on more of Dublin’s histories, through the Georgians and Victorians and beyond, there are stories of the Liffey and of Phoenix Park. The book also explores topics from transport to community, green spaces to culture, housing to health. Contributors include Shane O’Toole, Ciarán Cuffe, Éanna Ní Lamhna, Gráinne Shaffrey, Ellen Rowley, Shelley McNamara, Yvonne Farrell and more

Irish Times

This lavishly illustrated and hefty publication is an edited collection of reflections on the evolution of Dublin since independence (1920-2020) … Authored by twenty contributors, who each know their city intimately, the scope of Dublin By Design is in many ways emblematic of Irish architectural practice: erudite, indebted to history, creative set-pieces with a respect for pre-existing order… This is an ambitious collection that captures many of the ‘toils and tribulations’ of a living city. The hope is that, as Chomsky advocated, its publication builds the basis for debate, further scholarship, or a synthesising sequel

Irish Arts Review
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