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54 George's Street Lower
Dublin, County Dublin,

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Award Wining Architects based in Monkstown, Co.Dublin and working in all surrounding counties.

Specialising in sensitive contemporary design for domestic extensions, renovations, new-build houses and interior design.  We also design and build custom joinery.

RIAI registered architects, project managers & interior designers

Dublin Architecture Blog

Hofler Architects Dublin  - Our Blog of our news and views.

Filtering by Category: Creative Reuse


Paul Mulhern


Traditional long, narrow, single-storey farm buildings on the slopes of Knocknafreaghaun. Image via

Traditional long, narrow, single-storey farm buildings on the slopes of Knocknafreaghaun. Image via

A publication by the Heritage Council.

"Built by local builders, or the farmer himself, of readily available local materials and are truly vernacular architecture – We might even say that farm buildings of this type were sustainable before the concept was even considered".

A farm building reuse project we are working on in Carlow.

A farm building reuse project we are working on in Carlow.


The current focus on rural development provides an opportunity to see old farm buildings as an asset in finding alternative income for farm families.  A range of small-scale uses for old buildings may be possible without substantial alteration.

  • Unoccupied houses in working farmyards may be inhabited by a member of the family rather than converted to agricultural use
  • Old farmyards can be converted for craft workshops or tourism and self-catering; this may be especially viable in suburban areas or close to tourist or walking routes
  • Small-scale manufacturing industry, such as cheese- making, small-scale engineering, furniture making, and car maintenance offer other possible uses
  • Extending dwelling houses by incorporating adjoining farm buildings is sometimes possible without undue removal of cross walls and other elements of the buildings
  • Use of converted outbuildings for dwellings, holiday and self-catering accommodation may be permitted by the planning authority depending on the policies in the development plan.

Guidelines for the Repair and Maintenance of Traditional Buildings and Farmyards:

Ballinacarrig Farm Proposals, Carlow  - Hofler Architects

Ballinacarrig Farm Proposals, Carlow  - Hofler Architects

Consult your local authority conservation officer for advice on the repair of ‘listed’ farm buildings (those included in the RPS) and any grant aid available for such work.

Continue to use old farm buildings where possible

Avoid ‘gutting’ old buildings as this erases much of their historic value

Carefully site new buildings so as to avoid damaging an old yard

When repairing old farm buildings, like for like should apply.  Therefore similar materials to those used historically should be employed. These include stone, lime plaster and lime mortar, clay/mud, thatch, stone slates or flags, corrugated iron (round profile)

  • Retain old roof structures – these are all too easily lost during re-roofing
  • Retain old windows and doors
  • Protect buildings from fire by ensuring that electrical installation is to modern standards
  • Keep all stone walls in good repair, using stone similar to that in the wall if it needs to be repaired, and lime mortar with flush or recessed finish. On older buildings, it is generally not a good idea to use cement-based mortar or render to repair or plug gaps in old walls
  •  Retain cobbled floors and yard surfaces where these survive
  • Maintain and repair old timber and iron gates along with their piers and flanking walls
  • Keep old farm machinery under cover to protect it from the elements
  • Use traditional colour schemes and roof forms to help new buildings fit more easily into the overall complex
  • Keep corrugated iron roofs and claddings in good order by painting with appropriate paints
  • Keep a good source of water close by for dealing with fire
  • Keep all wells and springs free of pollutants 

Download the Heritage Council publication "Traditional Buildings on Irish Farms"

National Rural Network - "Conservation of Old Farm Buildings" - Ireland

Contact Hofler Architects to discuss conservation and alternative uses for your farm buildings here - Hofler Architects

Read about the Rock Farm Straw Bale Project here

Redevelopment of Dún Laogharie Baths

Paul Mulhern

The DLR Dún Laoghaire Area Committee last night approved a public consultation on new plans for the redevelopment of Dún Laogharie Baths, which have been an eye sore and a terrible waste of waterfront space, since they became derelict in the mid-1990s.

The proposed scheme will—

refurbish and secure the existing Baths Pavilion and open it to the public,  remove dilapidated structures on the sea-side of the pavilion,  create a new pedestrian route on the sea side, connecting at Newtownsmith to both the East Pier and the People’s Park,  provide facilities for sea swimming and access to the water’s edge for other marine activities,  open a new café with an open-air terrace,  include publicly-accessible and wheelchair-accessible toilets,  allow the public to access a wonderful new amenity.

The issue of Dún Laoghaire Baths has been stagnant for many years because of difficulties with a foreshore licence that would allow the Council to carry out the necessary works. The convoluted application process started in 2012, when the Council sought permission for the works, from the Department of Environment, Community & Local Government. ‘Approval in Principle’ has now been issued by the Minister of State with responsibility for foreshore licences.

The original Baths east of the East Pier, were constructed in 1843 by John Crosthwaite and named the Royal Victoria Baths. In 1896 Kingstown Urban District Council purchased the baths site and the firm of Alexander Fraser was engaged to build the new baths on today’s site. The works were completed in June 1908 and can mostly still be seen today. The baths were improved and extended in the 1930s and were in use in various forms, including Rainbow Rapids, until they were closed in the early 1990s.

Read more about the history of Dún Laoghaire Baths on,,,

One of the great features of the site of Dún Laoghaire Baths is that it is on an elevated spot, with great views towards Dún Laoghaire Harbour, Scotsman’s Bay and Dublin Bay, Newtownsmith, Sandycove Harbour, the Forty Foot, and the James Joyce Martello Tower, and it’s great potential to connect the walkway at Newtownsmith to both the East Pier and the People’s Park.

However, the location also means that it is on a slope with a north-easterly aspect that receives limited sunshine and can feel exposed when windy or when seas are rough.

Under the scheme, the existing Baths Pavilion will be retained and refurbished for use as artist workspaces, a gallery café and for the provision of public toilet facilities. Existing dilapidated structures to the rear of the Pavilion will be removed to permit the creation of a new route and landscaping that will connect the walkway at Newtownsmith to both the East Pier and the People’s Park, and it is proposed that the existing saltwater pools will be filled in, creating new enhanced facilities for sea swimming and greater access to the water’s edge by means of a short jetty.

The existing Baths Pavilion together with a smaller outbuilding will be retained, weathered and secured while the remaining dilapidated outbuildings to the rear and side of the Pavilion will be removed.

It is proposed to fit out the Pavilion to accommodate studio space for artists and to provide gallery and café facilities, with the original entrance on Windsor Terrace being restored and an outdoor ‘café terrace’ being created and linked to the new café. It is also proposed to create new public toilets facilities at street level, which will also be accessible for wheelchair users. Footpaths along Windsor Terrace will be upgraded and new street trees planted as part of the process.

With the removal of derelict buildings on the sea-side of the pavilion, there will be a new pedestrian route to connect the walkway at Newtownsmith with the East Pier, at a level that will create a safe and secure walk with panoramic views over Scotsman’s Bay and places to sit.

The land adjoining this walk will be re-graded to create grassed areas which will thematically link the Park at Newtownsmith to the Maritime Gardens that currently lead to the East Pier, and the small, historic gazebo situated along this route with be refurbished.

A new jetty and a changing area will be created to provide enhanced access to the water for sea swimmers and to provide a landing point for kayaks and canoes and other small marine craft. This jetty will be linked by new steps to the ‘café terrace’ at the Baths Pavilion and to the pedestrian crossing point leading to the People’s Park. It is also hoped that jet water fountains could be installed in the area next to the pedestrian routes, between the Baths Pavilion and the sea.

Images from DLRD Architect’s Report here.

Hofler Architects, Monkstown, Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin