New Life for Period Delight in Pembroke Road
July 28, 2017
The summer days are long and, luckily, the rain has mostly kept away in recent weeks. The timing is perfect for beginning a new building project. I’m delighted to say that I will be working with Brazil Associates architects on the upcoming refurbishment of a property in Pembroke Road. It is one of a set of four pairs of semi-detached former townhouses in the heart of Ballsbridge, and was converted to flats in the 20th century. Its massing and proportions are substantial, competing equally with the soaring cedar trees in the front and rear gardens. This two-bay, three-storey-over-basement dwelling was constructed in 1830 within the Pembroke Estate, as a pair with the structure to the east, and was part of a speculative development named Pembroke Place. It was a last-gasp of the Georgian era, with intricately detailed decorative plasterwork, an ornate pedimented doorcase, and robust channelling to the render at basement level. In the last quarter of the 19th century, a substantial Victorian extension was added to the rear. Whereas many extensions of this era were mere afterthoughts, this building comprises a thoroughly designed architectural statement in its own right. Externally, a mansard roof and dormer windows with decorative barge boards surmount a yellow brick structure with red brick decorative bands, string courses, and Doric piers.
Internally, a highly unusual coffered ceiling of diagonal formation and equally rare tripartite, geometric overdoors survive alongside a parquet floor, forming an interior that is rather ‘masonic’ in appearance. Perhaps Dan Brown will rent this flat for inspiration while writing his next novel; indeed, the building will be sensitively refurbished to form new residential units, with one amply-sized flat per floor in the main house and two duplexes in the extension. A new residential structure to the rear, including a glazed atrium, will bring this site into the 21st century.
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