Projects / Hidden Rooms

The Regenerated City

When to retain, refurbish and replace

Go to Project ↓

The Hidden Room venue was F2 Community Centre Fatima, 3 Reuben Plaza, Dublin 8. The F2 Community Centre is a flagship purpose-built facility established in June 2010 as the successor to the Fatima Regeneration Board.

The guest speaker was Clare Brass, the discussion was chaired by Simon O’Rafferty and the DCC client was Celine Reilly. A full list of participants is below.

The group explored the following issue:

The regeneration strategy of existing flat complexes in the city until recently consisted of demolition and redevelopment. This is generally no longer viable for economic reasons, and the focus is now on refurbishing existing blocks to a high standard. How do we decide what to retain, refurbish and replace, and how does social regeneration factor in and influence these decisions?



It is proposed to refurbish a number of flat complexes in the city, and improve their energy efficiency through retrofitting under the JESSICA programme.

Many of these flat complexes relate poorly to the adjoining streetscape and may use the existing site inefficiently, hence infill buildings may be proposed as part of the refurbishment strategy.

A number of these complexes are located on prime city centre sites. The Dorset St. Flats is one example, located 5 minutes from O’Connell St. While previously this site may have been seen as peripheral, the surrounding area will soon be transformed with a new LUAS (tram) line running nearby, and the proposed extension of the ‘Civic Spine’ to run from O’Connell St through Parnell Square and onto the new DIT campus at Grangegorman. The Parnell Square area itself will be redeveloped into a Cultural Quarter, and will be the location of Dublin’s new City Library.

But is refurbishing these flats money well spent? When is it better to demolish and redevelop these sites so they achieve higher densities, provide a more coherent streetscape, comply with contemporary building regulations and residential space standards? At what point is refurbishing and retro-fitting throwing good money after bad?

In tandem with physical urban regeneration, how can social regeneration influence what should be retained, refurbished or replaced? Community engagement is predicated on the promise of extensive redevelopment. What pilot project could be undertaken in 2015 to motivate residents around the longterm regeneration of their existing homes and without necessitating significant investment? How can the City Council refocus their expectations and regenerate in a new way?


Devise a 2015 pilot project that motivates residents around the longterm regeneration of their existing homes, using the Dorset Street Flat complex as a model.

Please see the group’s key slide plenary session presentation below.


Andrew Nugent

Celine Reilly - DCC Client

Chris Galvin

Clare Brass - Guest Speaker

Faolan Bashford

Gina Lovett

Hannah Breshears

Helen Meany

Hugh McKenna

Joe Donohoe

Justin O’Brien

Lisa Smith

Mel Gardener

Merlo Kelly

Paul Altman

Sean Smith

Simon O’Rafferty - Chair

Stefan Lowe

Tina Robinson

William Scott

Ygraine Bright - Visualiser


Project Story

Related Projects →