Innovative, contemporary, design-led architecture

11 Sep , 2020  

For their outstanding contribution to the recently-completed The Devlin Hotel in Ranelagh, Dublin 6, Lawrence and Long Architects were shortlisted in the ‘Building of the Year – Leisure’ category at the Building and Architect of the Year Awards 2019. Building Ireland spoke to founding director Pierre Long to find out more.

The Devlin Hotel stands proud as a testament to the capabilities of Lawrence and Long Architects, an innovative, contemporary, design-led architectural practice that has – since its inception in 2005 -completed numerous award winning projects characterised by elegant design, quality building materials and underpinned by a high level of collaboration with clients.

Shortlisted in the ‘Building of the Year – Leisure’ category at this year’s prestigious Building and Architect of the Year Awards, this particular project was the result of a wonderful collaborative effort between the client and design team.

The Devlin Hotel occupies the site of a former butcher’s and abattoir premises in a prominent location at the junction of Ranelagh village and a narrow lane connecting to Mornington Road, to the south. By recessing the glazing line of the ground floor reception room, a once narrow and uninviting lane has become a wider pedestrian lane and animated public space, re-paved in Wicklow granite stone.

The hotel, which comprises nearly 2,000 sq.m, is finished in a bright, pale limestone, which is stepped, facetted and punctuated with large planters to the west façade facing the lane.

These includes a mixture of native species, including yew, and extend the existing greenery from Mornington Road into Ranelagh village.

A projecting oriel window at second-floor level contrasts with curved glass elements at ground floor level.

A large, bright ground floor reception room extends from Ranelagh towards the redbrick terrace of houses to the south on Mornington Road.

A deep overhang provides shelter to a curved coffee bar and outdoor informal seated area.  Large west-facing sliding windows at the ground floor can slide open to further animate the former narrow lane.

Each of the bedrooms at first and second floor levels are accessed off a naturally day-lit corridor with views of the Wicklow mountains to the south and Ranelagh to the north. The hotel includes an arthouse cinema in the basement and a naturally top-lit cocktail bar, while a rooftop restaurant occupies the entire top floor with panoramic views of Ranelagh, the Dublin Mountains and a number of fine steeples dotted in the distance to the west.

Construction was completed on October 31st, 2018 and the response to the new-look Devlin Hotel during the ensuing twelve months has been exceedingly positive. Being shortlisted for the Building and Architect of the Year Awards 2019 was the icing on the cake:

“We were delighted with the nomination. It’s a great honour to be shortlisted for the ‘Building of the Year – Leisure’ award and to know that your work is being recognised,” states director Pierre Long. “We’re very proud of this hotel project and what it has done at a local urban scale. We were lucky to have an enthusiastic client and exceptional contractors.

“Matt Murphy, the project architect at Lawrence and Long Architects was brilliant as were all the landscapers, structural engineers, etc.

“This is a quite a prominent site in Ranelagh. The original lane, which the hotel addresses, was unattractive but we have refurbished it and incorporated it into the design. The refurbishment has done a lot for Ranelagh, enhancing the lane and that entire area. You could say that we exploited that lane, which was in no way interesting, and made it into a positive for Ranelagh and the hotel.”

“The elevation facing Ranelagh is narrow and with little frontage. We saw that lane as an asset and an opportunity,” Pierre continues. “The longest part of the hotel is along that lane and there’s a large amount of glass … we effectively made it part of the hotel.

“The long ground-floor room gets light from the south, which is unusual in Ranelagh and the corridor serving the guest rooms at first and second floor goes North to South with wonderful views of the mountains facing south and the city facing north.

“The existing buildings in Ranelagh are generally quite low, so the restaurant on the top floor has fantastic, panoramic views of Dublin.”

A versatile, multi-national, innovative architectural practice with in depth working knowledge of many building types including office, educational, health, residential, retail and leisure projects, Lawrence and Long Architects was established 15 years ago by Joe Lawrence and Pierre Long, who graduated from the School of Architecture of University College Dublin within two years of each other, in 1994 and 1992 respectively. Having worked together in a previous practice, they opted to set up their own company in 2005.

Lawrence and Long is widely regarded as an imaginative, design-focused, architectural practice with a high level of client orientated services including architecture, interior design, apartment design, urban masterplanning and conservation projects.

Their projects are underpinned by a careful and sensitive approach combining sustainable technologies and the use of quality building materials, with particular emphasis placed on exploiting daylight and natural ventilation to promote wellbeing and reduce energy dependency.

The practice is a fully registered member of the RIAI (Royal Institute of the Architects in Ireland) and RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects).

Lawrence and Long Architects also have considerable experience dealing with protected structures and are RIAI-accredited Conservation Grade II Architects and members of the Irish Georgian Society. They have been honoured with RIAI and AAI Architectural Awards for their work with existing buildings, while contemporary work by the practice regularly features in architectural publications, interior magazines and newspapers and tv.

The Devlin Hotel being an obvious case in point… “We were very enthusiastic about that project. We really like doing hotels and we had a very good client who is interested in good design. We’re doing another hotel with them in Galway – The Dean Hotel, which will open in 2020,” Pierre points out.

“As with every project, you are trying to get as many ideas into it as you can. Natural daylight is a very important quality of all our projects. We ended up with a very open-plan and bright space, where the sunshine gets in and you feel good.”

Employing an enthusiastic, hard-working and creative team of architects, Lawrence and Long is a diverse and flexible practice that has completed projects throughout Ireland, in the UK and France. 

At the time of writing, they were working on a number of projects in Dublin, including apartment developmentsas well as office buildings in the city centre.

“If you work hard at the brief, you can always find something to exploit and develop into a good idea and a good building,” Pierre concludes.

At The Devlin Hotel in Ranelagh, it was an unkempt lane that provided the unlikely inspiration!

Lawrence and Long Architects

23 Mespil Road,

Dublin 4,

D04 DF44.

Tel: 01 661 9206

Email: [email protected]

Web: www.lawrenceandlong.com

Project Design Team.

Client: Oakmount

Architects: Lawrence and Long Architects.

Project Architect: Matt Murphy.

Structural Engineer: JJ Campbell and Associates

Landscape Architects: Thirty Three Trees

Quantity Surveyor: Kelly & O’Callaghan.

Main Contractor: M+P Construction

This article was published in Building Ireland Magazine, February/March 2020, Vol 6 No 1