Monday 29 May 2017

Mini boom at the high end

Smart design from architects DTA brings apartment living to new heights in D4. Liadan Hynes reports

Dunluce, a luxury apartment complex by developer Tom Bailey in sought-after Dublin 4, offers views of the Merrion Cricket Club
Dunluce, a luxury apartment complex by developer Tom Bailey in sought-after Dublin 4, offers views of the Merrion Cricket Club

We may have yet to get fully behind the notion of apartment living as a family way of life, but luxury apartments are experiencing a mini boom within the leafy environs of Dublin 4. Rather than couples seeking a family home, however, in this case the profile of the buyer tends to be slightly older - a down-sizer, perhaps, or someone in search of a bolthole, or investors who plan to live there eventually and who, for now, will rent, or allow the kids to live there temporarily. This is not first-time buyer territory.

Early this year there was the launch of high-end apartments at Embassy Court and 55 Percy Place. Project Trinity and No 1 Ballsbridge are still to come. The latest luxury apartment launch in the area arrived this week with Dunluce, a striking new block of apartments just off Angelsea Road, brought to the market by developer Tom Bailey.

Designed by architects DTA, the development comprises of four individual blocks of apartments, with 25 units in total, 21 two-bedroom and four three-bedroom penthouses. They are a stunning example of contemporary design that is in sympathy with both the aesthetics of the location and the need to create a tenable living space. Award-winning practice DTA was responsible for the design. "The intent of the overall scheme was to break up the mass of the development of the site," says architect Derek Tynan of the four separate blocks. The new units sit on a lush green site, bordered by the Dodder, Herbert Park and the Merrion Cricket Club, with city and mountain views. "If you look at it on Google Maps, it is surrounded in a certain sense," says Tynan. "It's one of the most verdant sites that you will find in Dublin. The idea was that that landscape could permeate through the actual scheme itself."

Tynan used a rainscreen cladding system, made by Lithodecor, as an outer shell, the final layer of which is a glass panel in a light aqua shade. "The material is intended to reflect light through the scheme, and to reflect the trees," he explains.

"If you're lucky enough to be there when it's sunny, the effect of that is really quite magical."

For Tynan, the other important element in the design was to break up the solid façade, "so the positioning of balconies is done such as to erode the mass of the blocks".

All four are connected by a raised boardwalk. For Tynan, the addition of a public area beyond each individual dwelling is crucial in the creation of genuinely sustainable apartment living.

"It's about making some kind of urban reality so that you have a sense of not only the unit, but also some wider, semi-public kind of aspect of how you develop a site. It's not just an apartment, it gives it a whole context, and a whole environment which is critical to the success of the scheme."

Built above the 100-year flood level, it also serves to eradicate the flooding issues the site has seen in the past. DCC has also carried out significant flood relief works on the site.

The four buildings range in height from three to six floors, with no more than two units per floor and one at penthouse level.

The two-bedroom apartments are 86-90sq.m, from €775,000, the three-bed penthouses from 150-153sq.m, from €1.7 million. All two-beds are dual aspect with corner balconies, while the penthouses are full aspect, with wrap-around terraces and a second balcony.

The penthouses include a separate kitchen, as well as the living/dining room, an unusual feature in apartments. All units benefit from full-height windows throughout, maximising the available light and the surrounding views.

Kitchens are by Kitchen Elegance, with high-gloss lacquered doors, and integrated appliances. Each unit includes a large utility cupboard. Bathrooms are by Villeroy & Boch and are spacious throughout, as are the bedrooms, all of which have built-in wardrobes. Each apartment comes with a basement storage unit and ground-level parking space.

Asking price: From €775,000.

  • Agent: Hooke & MacDonald (01) 631 8402

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