Joe Fallon Architectural Design certainly made a big impression on the judges at this year’s Irish Construction Industry Awards, where they were shortlisted for no fewer than five awards, including the prestigious Architectural Practice of the Year accolade. Building Ireland availed of the opportunity to catch up with eponymous founder and Managing Director Joe Fallon to find out more about this exceptional multi-disciplinary practice.
Joe Fallon Architectural Design have been nominated as a finalist in two categories in the 2019 Irish Construction Industry Awards – for Architectural Practice of the Year and four separate entries in the Small Residential Project of the Year category.
The industry-leading Dublin- and Wexford-based practice previously won the Best Public Park Award at the 2016 Community and Council Awards as well as the 2014 Wexford Chamber of Commerce Social Contribution Award. They were also shortlisted for the 2011 CMG Architectural Practice of the Year and their work regularly features in ‘Home Improvement’.
With over 30 years’ experience within the construction industry, the bulk of Joe Fallon Architectural Design’s work involves designing extensions, one-off houses and renovations alongside a growing amount of commercial work. Energy efficiency is central to their work and they are a registered BER assessor with Sustainable Energy Authority Ireland (SEAI).
A multidisciplinary team of architects and architectural technologists – together with a team of consultant engineers, quantity surveyors and Health & Safety professionals – offer a complete service ranging from initial assessment and conceptual drawings through planning applications to construction monitoring and final certification. Joe Fallon Architectural Design are registered with the CIAT and CABE as well as the Society of Chartered Surveyors of Ireland (SCSI) as an assigned certifier under the new building regulations BC(A)R 2014, with full professional indemnity insurance. Joe himself has recently been awarded fellowship of the Chartered Association of Building Engineers.
Working hand in hand with sister company Fallon Kelly & Associates (FKA Architects), who look after commercial projects, Joe Fallon Architectural Design’s business has grown rapidly over the past 30 years, progressing from a single employee working out of a home-based office to occupying purpose-built premises spread over three floors on the Main Street in Bunclody and a first-floor office on Main Street, Dundrum, Dublin 14.
Both the practice’s profile and the calibre and quality of their projects have steadily increased, due partly to positive press coverage in national newspapers and design magazines (Self Build, Home & Build) as well as generous referrals from past clients.
Many projects go through the offices of Joe Fallon Architectural Design annually, their design style incorporating ample glazing, throwing light into previously darkened corners and creating bright, spacious light-filled spaces that adapt to our modern, dynamic way of life. Their motto is simple: they design energy-efficient buildings with strong emphasis on natural light, at a cost that is reasonable, using builders that are respectful of other people’s homes for the duration of the build.
Joe and his team believe in going the extra mile, listening carefully to clients’ wishes, and understanding that this will be one of the biggest upheavals they will ever undertake. Enthusiastic and energetic, they thoroughly love what they do and seeing the finished project excites them every time. Joe was keen to point out that at the end of the day it is all about giving the client respect and time, coupled with building contractors who are of the same ideology.
As essentially a small practice, covering the east coast, it was a wonderful achievement for Joe Fallon Architectural Design to be shortlisted as Architectural Practice of the Year at the 2019 Irish Construction Industry Awards. “We are delighted to have been recognised at these national awards,” Joe confirms. ““The awards are well recognised and are open to all architectural practices within the island of Ireland. As chartered architectural technologists, we were eligible to enter and it’s great to have been nominated not just in the Architectural Practice of the Year category but it’s also nice to have four of our projects shortlisted in the Small Residential Project of the Year category.”
The first of these, which was designed by Eric Stilwell of Joe Fallon Architectural Design, is a modern farmhouse at Kilglin in County Meath, where the brief included the provision of open plan kitchen / dining space with adjoining sitting area, utility, bathroom and playroom / TV room to the ground floor plus four double bedrooms (one with en-suite), large family bathroom and plenty of storage to first floor.
The building reflects the traditional vernacular of the Irish farmhouse, reimagined for a modern home and increased in scale to provide the client with the required level of accommodation. A simple palette of materials was used externally: white render, natural slate and natural stone cut from the site to anchor the building and reflect the original stone outhouses and sheds that lie adjacent.
The second residential project, designed by Luke Kuchta, of Joe Fallon Architectural Design, is a stunning home at Castleside, Rathfarnham, Dublin 14, where the brief included the provision of open plan kitchen / living / dining space and reorganisation of utility, WC, existing sitting room with a new entrance and porch to front. First and attic floors in the dwelling were also updated but this was more within the remit of interior design.
This project showcases the hidden potential of a typical Dublin home. The existing dwelling was transformed into a modern home filled with light and all modern amenities to provide the client with the required level of accommodation.
Meanwhile, for Garden Pavilion, Bunclody, County Wexford, the brief was to use an existing single-storey family room annex to the side of a large detached rural dwelling and create a new indoor-outdoor entertainment space for the family. The requirements included being able to enjoy the client’s stunning mature garden and magnificent views of the Blackstairs Mountains in all weathers. The space had to be suitable for parties of over 100 guests as well as more intimate family gatherings and everyday living.
Designed by Michael O’Brien and Eric Stilwell, this project is unashamedly modern yet sits in harmony within the site and alongside the existing dwelling. It serves the ultimate purpose of architecture: a space created to enhance everyday life and allow the homeowners to take maximum advantage of the beauty surrounding their home.
The fourth shortlisted residential project is a new build home on a greenfield site on the edge of Rathnure village in rural Wexford. The basis for the design, by Billy Conran of Joe Fallon Architectural Design, was to bring a contemporary twist to the traditional Irish vernacular. The main form of the home takes the shape of a single cell Irish cottage. From this central axis, two timber clad elements are pulled out to give the building a certain dynamism.
The building has a linear form. This allows many rooms to be dual aspect while giving the house a rational circulation flow. There are moments of compression as you move through the house, which then expand to beautifully lit and spacious areas. The main living space is a sunken lounge to flow with the natural slope of the site while projecting out at 45 degrees. This gives the space a more generous ceiling height while opening up to the surrounding views of the Blackstairs mountain range. The house is orientated to let all bedrooms enjoy the sunrise while allowing the main living zone to enjoy the sun for the duration of the day.
Careful consideration was made to ensure that the surrounding landscape is framed as you move about the house. A large window seat in the kitchen forces you to sit and relax while you gaze out to Mt. Leinster. The spacious entrance hall has full height glazing to act as a warm spill out living area with mountain views. As you move upstairs, you catch a glimpse of a lone hill in the distance through the tall stairway window. The 1st floor corridor has a window at head height which spans the entire corridor. This gives you a continuous view as you move about the first floor. This elegant strip window also brings balance to the façade as it matches the length of the full height glazing on the ground floor.
This home is all about view and light. You are struck with both as you enter the dual aspect master bedroom which has a feature corner window that makes you feel as though you have stepped into an inviting treehouse. Through this window you have the most spectacular view of the Blackstairs mountains that sweep around you to the north and east.
There is a careful materials palette that allows you to read the building easily. The simple form of the 1st floor has a crisp white render. The contrast of the 1st floor, to the dynamic movement of the ground floor, is accentuated by the use of full height glazing and Siberian larch cladding which together form a continuous band across the front façade. The 1st floor acts as a white cottage placed on top of a contemporary timber form. This becomes particularly apparent when you walk out onto the patio and see the 1st floor cantilever beyond the splayed living block.
“A lot of our work comes from positive referrals,” Joe notes. “We also have a very good girl working on our search optimisation and we’re first to come up on Google, which helps. We’re straight talking and we call it as it is. We also have a very thorough process of vetting our clients budget to insure they can afford buildability.
“We take their wish list and budget and will then come up with a plan, which will often differ dramatically from their initial ideas, and we’ll work with them until we get it right. Using 3D graphics and animated software makes it easier for the client to understand what we are trying to achieve for them.”
As a creative discipline, Joe Fallon Architectural Design always endeavour to find original and innovative ways of doing things and solving problems. In order to achieve the best design possible,
they collaborate in-house on certain projects, often running design competitions between their architects and technologists. This has the dual benefit of sharpening design skills whilst giving the client a broad and comprehensive set of proposals to choose from. The latter also gives the client great value for money.
Joe Fallon Architectural Design boast an incredibly positive relationship with present and past clients. As they primarily work within the residential sector, they are constantly working with their clients’ own home and their hard-earned money, therefore they invariably do their best to treat each one with sensitivity and care.
Joe Fallon Architectural Design,
6 Main Street,
Tel: 01 5143688
Email: [email protected]
Taken from Building Ireland Magazine, August, Vol 5 No 8