Old House New Home – Department of Culture, Heritage and Gaeltacht & Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland announce new, innovative publication which offers guidance on the repair and reuse of historic buildings


The Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Josepha Madigan, TD, today welcomed the Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland (RIAI) publication of Old House New Home.

Supported by her Department and the Creative Ireland Programme, this is an innovative e-publication, offering free guidance and advice on repairing and reusing historic buildings. It explains how to understand your home, conserve period features and reimagine it for contemporary living, while maintaining the character and craftsmanship that come with historic properties. The guide includes a wealth of case study projects representing different sizes, conditions, characteristics and locations – from homes in urban and suburban settings to the adaptation of farmhouse complex, their yards and outbuildings.

It also includes video footage telling the remarkable stories of five different built heritage scenarios – two urban residences above shops, a Cow House within a farmyard, a subdivided Georgian Town House and an Officers’ Mess that was the focus of a former military complex. These projects are of different scales, settings and complexities, but all have been reimagined for 21st century living, whilst retaining their unique architectural character. The success of many of these case studies is not just in the design of new works but also in the repair and conservation of historic fabric and retention of character.

‘These concepts,’ the Minister said, ‘of high quality design, reuse and good repair are of paramount importance to urban and rural regeneration alike, but of particular relevance to informing how to reimagine the historic building stock that lies vacant at the heart of our towns and villages’.
‘As well as making distinctive homes’, the Minister continued, ‘the reuse and repair of existing buildings is an important response to climate change and urban revitalisation. Consideration of reuse and reimagining of existing building stock, their embodied energy and craftsmanship is a carbon neutral option, which is part of sustainable development’.

The Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht through various polices and strategies on architecture and the historic built environment seeks to promote awareness and understanding of heritage-led regeneration with well-considered design as a benefit to the environment and to society as a whole.

Kathryn Meghen, CEO of the RIAI, added:
“Old House New Home is an important new online resource for the owners of existing properties, including protected structures. It provides best-practice architectural advice and beautifully illustrated case studies to support and inspire homeowners in reimagining these buildings. The adaptation of derelict or vacated buildings offer distinct and unique opportunities but can be daunting, where their original qualities are masked by poor condition or previous alterations. Conserving or adapting an existing building is a complex process that requires architectural advice from the outset. A Registered Architect has the necessary skill-set to unlock the potential of your project. With protected structures, architects with expertise in conservation can provide the advice and guidance needed. These buildings provide exciting opportunities and with the right advice and guidance can provide beautiful homes for generations to come.”

Old House New Home, supported by the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and the Creative Ireland Programme, which supports the creative potential of people, organisations and government departments working together, hopes to encourage more people to consider the repair and reuse of vacant or under-utilised buildings in our urban neighbourhoods and towns and in rural settings.

The publication is available here.

Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, 23 Kildare Street, Dublin , D02 TD30. Tel: 01 631 3800 / LoCall: 1890 383 000

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