Here at Allan Curran Architects we’ve entered the period of closure that most businesses are now facing. This is going to run for at least the next fortnight, and very possibly longer. The closure period is a huge challenge to the entire country, and we’re going to find new ways of living and working until the crisis passes. Although the Allan Curran offices are closed, we’re well set up to work from home and we intend to carry on as usual with everybody fully employed.
Our work will continue as normal with discussions and meetings taking place online or via the phone, and drawings and documents being emailed as usual so that things can resume smoothly when the time comes.
In short, we’re aiming to minimise disruption to everybody that we deal with, and we’re very definitely open for business – just remotely for now.
Look out for each other and stay well.
This weekend sees the 50 year celebration of the Irish Intercounties Surfing Championship at Rossnowlagh, Co. Donegal and while I didn’t arrive on the scene until year four I have great memories of the event and of its founder, the late Brian Britton.
I had known Brian and his brothers since we were kids playing in the sand dunes in Rossnowlagh but we drifted apart during school and university years. We got together again in 1972 when Brian led a small army of European surfers up from County Clare where he had organised Ireland’s first hosting of the European Surfing Championships. We had a shared passion for surfing that took us around the world representing Irish surfing as competitors, managers and organisers. Brian’s boundless energy, efficiency and his attention to detail took him on to become President of the Irish Surfing Association, President of the European Surfing Federation and Vice-President of the world’s governing body, the International Surfing Association.
I shall attend his memorial dinner next Saturday at the Intercounties and will no doubt, with many others, recall the great times we had on the world’s beaches from Lisbon to Lahinch, from Sydney to Strandhill and from Rio back to Rossnowlagh and the Irish Intercounties. His passing is not only a great loss to his family and friends but to the world of surfing.
Image 1 – Lorraine Quinn, (nee Walls), with Quarterdeck playing in the Surfers Bar at the Intercounties early in the 1980’s.
Image 2 – Brian in full flow welcoming the world’s surfers to an Irish Party in Rio de Janerio, 1996.
Under the new GDPR (General Data Protection Regulations) we have been trawling through old files, before committing them to the shedder and we came across this old photograph of the Allingham Arms Hotel in Bundoran as it was back in the 60’s and 70’s.
It reminded us of the exciting times we had working with the late Sean McEniff. He was a man of seemingly boundless energy and a drive to move forward, at speed.
In the late 1980’s we were engaged with Sean in adding to his hotel in Letterkenny, the Mount Errigal (previously the Ballyraine). During design discussions he announced that he had just purchased the Allingham Arms and asked us to work with him on the development of the hotel. From the start there was opposing views on the best way to commence that development. One option was to refurbish the existing building and to extend it, thereby getting an income stream started in the shortest possible time. The option we favoured was the demolition of the existing and the erection of a new hotel set on the front of the site as close to the sea as possible. As architects, we also wanted to showcase our skill by creating an extension to the wonderful Bay View Terrace, but in a modern format. We lost the argument and photos below show the early 1991-92 development.
Ironically the hotel proved so popular that we have been adding to the building ever since and in 2006 we finally got to build an extension to the hotel on the seafront to make use of those magnificent views.
We were delighted recently to see that the success of the hotel under Peter, Elizabeth and family has brought it to four-star status. It’s come a long way since 1991.
One of the most enjoyable aspects of our work is witnessing architecture make a family fall in love with their home again. This was our experience of a recent refurbishment and extension to a family dwelling in Co. Leitrim.
Everything about the pretty village of Leitrim, that attracted them twelve years ago, still appealed to our clients. They had simply outgrown their first home. Family visits from Donegal were now an expanding entity in themselves as cousins for their two girls arrived along.
Entertaining family was never going to be compromised by this pair, so they came to us seeking to expand and open up their kitchen-dining space and to find a way to incorporate a snug sitting area.
Although the site is narrow we were able to add on a small extension to the side. We flooded the new extension with light from above, as well as improving access to an existing patio garden directly from the kitchen, with the addition of new glazed doors.
Reconfiguring the existing internal layout created a transformation of the boxed, defined spaces too often the property developers’ layout of choice. The look of the new space is contemporary, a light filled soothing palette of whites and blue greys with pops of colour in the soft furnishings.
Now at the end of a busy working week our clients like nothing better than to avail of the stunning amenities Leitrim has to offer and return home to the space that more than ever is the heart of their home. We know they are sure to maximise their new kitchen over the holiday period. We wish them and all Allan Curran clients and friends a happy and peaceful Christmas.
Our clients wanted to open their house up to create more room for entertaining family and friends, and although the site is narrow we were able to add on a small extension to the side. We also removed a few walls inside the house, so that with contemporary finishes, fittings and furniture the whole look and feel of the house has been transformed. Our clients are delighted with the light- filled Scandi- feel of their new kitchen, dining and living areas and are sure to make good use of them over the holiday period.
Much of modern domestic architecture and especially those aspects associated with house extensions is based around two features – daylight and access to the patio (and the garden beyond). Both these aspects are designed to make the best of the little sunshine we get in Ireland. Actually, when we approached the month of May you might be surprised to know that during May and June, our sunniest months we get on average between 5 hours of sunshine a day in the northwest and 7 hours a day in the south east. There are, of course, no free lunches. Windows cost approximately 4 times as much per square meter as an insulated block wall and while triple glazing is now almost standard you also lose 6 times more heat through a triple glazed window than you do through the same area of insulated block work.
When it comes to the cost of creating a patio the sky can be the limit, but with some consideration of the materials, the layout and the levels, you can achieve an attractive area on which to enjoy the outdoors at a reasonable cost. In this particular case we managed to reduce the original quotation by almost 50% just by considering those various aspects.
We’ve just finished working with the TY Students at Loreto Community School in Milford, helping them design outdoor classrooms at the school. We had a great time with the students and they came up with some really wacky designs- it was lovely to see them developing their creative ability as we went through the programme. Thanks to the Irish Architecture Foundation for setting up the Initiative- it’s our third year to be involved and hopefully we’ll be back again next year!
The clients brief was for a “garden room” which would link the main body of the house, which was extensively refurbished, with the garden and the views of the mountains to the south of Enniskillen. The original expectation was that this would be used mostly in spring summer and autumn but it has turned out to be the “go to” room in the house. The light afforded by the extensive glazing and its close proximity to the landscape patio area with its southern aspect make it easy to see why this is the case.
As part of the refurbishment what was the dinning room has been converted to a gable end kitchen with an enlarged window to the south to take in the view and sunlight. Our Client used a modern shaker style Windsor mussel door with wood grain effect. The worktops used are the natural River White Granite and the block chrome handle giving the kitchen a modern look. http://www.dunlopkitchens.co.uk
Two room were knocked into one to provide a larger master bedroom with ensuite and dressing area.