Patrick, can you tell me how your practice began?
I worked with Paul Keogh Architects for 13 years and it was in late 2012 when I decided that it was time for me to leave to do my own work and start my own practice. I had two domestic projects and a home office to start.
What influences your work?
On a personal level, my wife and my children influence my work every day. I think Irish architecture is very powerful and influential and thinking as far back as my college days I look to the work of Alvar Aalto and Siza.
In general what is your work method?
It really starts with a sketch in my black book, and then onto a hard line plan and 3D visualisations. I suppose I really have developed the use of 3D over the last couple of years in my own practice to explore the making of space, proportions and elevations. I think it’s a great tool to convey and relate the design to the client.
What did getting short-listed for Best Emerging Practice mean to you?
To be honest it was probably one of my proudest architectural moments of my working career. I’ve been involved as Project Architect in numerous projects that won awards but this felt a little different as it was very much my own work.
Your projects span various scales. Do you think versatility is necessary to practices, especially during the recession?
Absolutely, yes. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket as they say. My work ranges from domestic, schools, cafés, commercial to community-based projects. Just from a sanity point of view I think it’s great to have different types of work, different scales of work and different timescales to deliver those projects.
Why is sustainability an important element to your projects?
It’s important to any project. We have to be very conscious of global warming, Part L requirements, building regulations; they require us to think about sustainability and it should be to the forefront of any project. Just simple things like orientation, thermal qualities, renewable energies – I think they are all important elements of any projects and integral in the early design process of any project.
Your projects reflect the local vernacular in design and choice of material. What do you think emerging architects could learn from traditional Irish design?
I think we should take more from traditional Irish architecture – so many houses are out of scale, out of proportion, don’t consider shelter, orientation and are insensitive to their surroundings. We should look towards old traditional buildings which are almost the exact opposite in that they are delicate in scale, mass and proporation, they relate to each other, and sit in the landscape. Much more reference needs to be taken from older traditional buildings in the construction of new buildings, particularly in our rural landscape.
What is architectural practice for you?
It involves so much, too much almost. I think unfortunately legislation, administration, building regulations and the fear of getting sued is taking over. We are trained to design and create (hopefully) beautiful buildings. That’s what you want to do but there’s so much involved to deliver a successful project; all that said it’s still very enjoyable!
How would you like to see your practice evolve?
I’ve many new and exciting projects on the drawing baord. It’s a very busy year ahead and I’m very optimistic about the future. I am looking ahead to develop and expand my work over the next year or two. While I’m very busy and would like to expand, I’ll be cautious after what we’ve come through in the Celtic Tiger years.
So what is next for PG Architects?
I am in the middle of tendering some school extension projects, a community-based sports project, some new commercial/café fit-outs which is quite exciting and different. It’s a new challenge for me taking on this type of work, so I’m looking forward to digging in and making good work.
PG ArchitectsHaving graduated from UCD in 1999, where he received a number of awards including the RIAI Travelling Scholarship, Patrick went on to work at the Office of Public Works, Mark Hurcum Design Practice, Sydney, and Paul Keogh Architects, Dublin. From 1999 to 2012, Patrick was responsible as project architect for the design and delivery of many of PKA’s most prestigious and award-winning housing, school and master-planning projects.
Photography by Peter Cook.