As we look forward to the upcoming Architecture and Building Expo, 6-7 October, Architecture Ireland takes a look at the Expo’s annual Interior Design & Fit-Out Awards through a series of interviews with 2016′s winning practices.
In this article, we speak with Eamon Peregrine of Eamon Peregrine Architects. In 2016, Eamon Peregrine Architects were awarded the ‘Domestic up to €1m’ Award for the Dún Laoghaire Apartment project.
You won an award for the renovation of an apartment in Dún Laoghaire – could please tell us about the initial aims and brief for this project and some of the main challenges involved?
The aim of the project was to create a more efficent and flexible layout for the apartment that better suited the client’s lifestyle. The existing concrete bathroom pods were probably the biggest impediment to alterating the apartment and their removal, while difficult, opened up the plan. Poor workmanship in the original fit-out meant it was very difficult to retain anything, so the interior was stripped back to the concerte shell. Being located on the fourth floor with a narrow staircase, access was another difficulty. This led to the glass screens and kitchen counter requiring the use of a crane to lift them through the main windows of the apartment.
Apartment refurbishments seem to be quite rare in Ireland – or at least we’re more used to see houses being renovated in this way. However the apartment typology presents its own set of unique boundaries and limitations, particular in terms of access to sunlight, natural ventilation and any external modifications. How did these restrictions influence your approach to the project?
The apartment is dual aspect and the external walls were pretty much fully glazed so there was nothing that could be done to alter this. We wanted therefore to see if we could create additional living spaces that still had access to natural light.The bathroom and storage were all grouped in the middle of the plan away from the windows, and glass screens were used to provide natural light to the kitchen and living room while still allowing them to function as separate rooms.
What influences your work typically? (ie. architects, projects, imagery etc.) And did you have any particular precedents in mind while designing the apartment in Dún Laoghaire?
I would certainly be influenced by the work of other architects.The apartment in Dún Laoghaire developed from another apartment refurbishment which did not proceed. This was a single aspect apartment where a glass wall was used around the perimeter to screen a service zone of bathrooms, kitchen, storage etc. creating a large open plan living space in the centre of the plan.
In general what is your work method? And did it alter in any way for this project?
As i am usually working with existing buildings, the survey is an important part of the process. Measuring and carefully drawing the building at the start helps to understand where the problems and opportunities are to improve. When working on people’s homes, the interaction between architect and client is also important.
How did it feel to have a prize-winning entry in the Interior Design and Fit-Out Awards 2016? Has the award influenced your practice in any way?
We were delighted to receive the award and it has led to more enquires from people wishing to do similar projects.
With your experience of Interior Design and Fit-Out, what are the main changes you’ve witnessed in the area of the last number of years and do you have any predictions for the future of the sector?
I would have limited experience of this area but I would expect to see more people wanting to alter and refurbish apartments in the future.
Eamon Peregrine – born in Dublin in 1971. Studied at University College Dublin, 1990-97. Established in private practice in 2003.