Officially opened in May 2019 – and changing lives for the families and people living there who now have a place to call home – the new Focus Housing Association CLG John’s Lane West project consisted of the construction of a sheltered-housing, residential apartment development, comprising 31 units.
Continuing Focus Housing Association’s work to tackle the devastating effects of the homelessness crisis, this new vivid, yet context-sensitive, development includes a mixture of dwelling units, comprising 16 No. one-bedroom, 10 No. two-bedroom and 5 No. three-bedroom apartment units – compliant with the Dublin City Development Plan 2011-2017 (current at Planning stage) – and ensures an addition to the surrounding community which has a mix of single people, couples and families with children.
The building has been designed using a rich and varied palette of materials, which respect its setting in the surrounding built environment amongst many high quality late Victorian buildings (The Schoolhouse, & The Priory), which feature redbrick and limestone detailing – and an aesthetically pleasing contrast with the modern ‘Vaults’ intervention across Johns Lane West has also been established.
Large windows & spacious balconies are provided, while the design is mindful of the need for the lower floors to be street friendly, yet rugged and durable. Each individual apartment comprises bedrooms, dining, kitchen and storage areas – delivered within a multi-storey construction, varying in height from 6 storeys to 7 storeys over Basement. With all accommodation arranged around a central courtyard with playground, the development also included a Communal Amenity Space at roof level – and has also included an external envelope with balconies, canopy installation, associated services and systems installation, ancillary accommodation, and associated site works.
The main entrance lobby and reception area for the residents of the upper floor apartments, are located at the eastern end, and a play area / communal courtyard is provided at ground level at the rear. The ground floor has a higher floor-to-floor height so as to balance the proportions of the exterior elevations with those of the surrounding buildings – and also to allow for ease of potential conversion to retail or office use at some time in the future – if local community needs require such facilities. The building also has the benefit of 2 communal roof top gardens located on the 5th & 6th floors, connected externally by a staircase, where the residents can take in panoramic views of the city skyline. The upper floor apartments are accessed along communal open decks which provide natural light and ventilation to the circulation areas. The decks are overlooked by the kitchen windows of the individual apartments and a small space is provided outside each apartment on the deck for private use – be it to park a buggy/bicycle, or place a table and chair – thus encouraging a sense of community spirit. These decks are sized and detailed to provide dual orientation to the apartments, with the opportunities for social interaction between the residents, and to enable the personalisation of the external space with flowers and plants.