Dublin’s conventional suburban “semi-d” has often been quoted as an unsustainable solution with a need for greater housing density and affordability required. Cedar Brook, originally developed in 2003, provides a radically different affordable housing scheme, billed at the time as ‘the first of its type’ in Ireland and a ‘model for housing developments throughout the country’.
A joint venture by Park Developments, John Sisk & Son and Dublin City Council, it contains 374 apartments and terraced houses on a 10-acre site in Cherry Orchard, giving a remarkable density of 37 homes per acre. It is unique in many ways but particularly, it was aimed at providing housing on a fast-track basis using new construction methods. At the time these were the least expensive homes on the Dublin Market but with a very high specification being provided.
Recipients of the RIAI Irish Architecture Award 2004 for this development, O’Mahony Pike Architects designed Cedar Brook as no conventional Irish housing estate. The scheme is laid out in five terraces around a landscaped central park with a pedestrian promenade running through the centre. Most of the buildings are three or four storeys, with apartments at ground and first floors and duplex townhouses above.
The 4 storey terraces are designed to replicate a traditional Victorian Dublin model with repeating bays of 6 own door apartments and duplex units, each served by a single external stairway with small feature Apartment buildings bookending each terrace. The 3 story terrace has a traditional house at ground and first floor with an apartment at third floor accessed via a feature stairs. Over 200 dwellings have private rear gardens with the balance provided with large terraced balconies
A number of different products were chosen and these, as stand-alone products, were not innovative but all together provided a new and innovative project.
Amongst these the choice of Hot Dip Galvanized steel throughout the development stands out as a very significant feature of this innovative thinking. It works on many levels, not all of which are immediately obvious but all of which contribute to the sustainability of both the design and the development itself and were carefully considered in the design process.