Proctor and Matthews Architects are currently engaged as masterplanners and architects for the design of several new settlements and neighbourhood expansions across Ireland. These projects rethink the way residential developments can be developed using a new range of standardised house typologies. These are in response to changing 21st century living patterns, the cultural and historic specifics of context and a reaction to the car dominated residential streets of contemporary suburbia. These residential studies are also focused on providing higher density family orientated neighbourhoods that use land more efficiently and provide a greater variety of dwelling types. When asked (in an Ireland-wide series of focus groups) to prioritise the key aspirations in future housing, respondents spoke of a return to the essence of communities and the traditional street: a place for children to play and for neighbours to meet.
The concept of clustering homes around public and communal neighbourhood spaces and the creation of streets and mews devoid of cars and of a scale which would nurture a sense of place and belonging was inspired by the historic rural forms of Clachans: traditional clusters of homes around a green yard.
Wilkinsons Brook at Tyrellstown is located on the edge of an expanding suburban neighbourhood to the northwest of Dublin and comprises 69 two, three and four-bedroom family houses. The site is bounded by a parkland to the north and a sequence of neighbourhood landscapes to the south and southwest. The residential layout creates a strong edge to these green open spaces by the incorporation of dual entrance/aspect courtyard homes with in-curtilage parking. These typologies not only help to deliver a strong identity to the neighbourhood, create defined thresholds to other areas within the wider Tyrellstown plan, but also help to provide a contained sequence of shared-surface streets and community spaces at the heart of the new quarter. Contemporary clachans are created within the public realm at both the western and eastern extremities of the tapering layout, with a central enclosed court for productive landscapes and recreation use. These are connected by a shared surface streetscape in which street sections are approximately one third the width of a conventional suburban layout where perpendicular car parking to each house frontage is visually dominant. All spaces here provide a sheltered environment for neighbourly interaction.