“The idea was that we would build a new road” – There’s a lot of ambition at the Lucky Lane lot in Stoneybatter

8 Lucky Lane, Stoneybatter, Dublin 7 Selling Price: €595,000 Broker: MoveHome (01) 920 3894

Building a new home is one thing, but it takes serious ambition to create a new road. Especially when that street is in the heart of Dublin. But an alleyway in Stoneybatter could be the answer to the future of city living.

Over 20 years ago, architects Philip Crowe and Peter Carroll, along with their friend Liz McLaren, bought an old townhouse on Aughrim Street in Stoneybatter. They renovated it and lived there until they all went their own way.

During all this time, an idea formed in the minds of Philip and Peter. They saw a way to make better use of the space around them and felt they could really change the way we build houses in the city. They eventually bought out Liz’s share and also the neighbor’s garden, with big plans for the future.

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The open kitchen at Lucky Lane

“The idea was that we build a new road,” explains Philip. “We wanted to densify the city, bring more people to life and at the same time use it more efficiently [existing] infrastructure.”

The plan was to use the back of the houses on Aughrim Street to create a new street on the other side, down Lucky Lane, with the ultimate aim of creating a new typology that could be used elsewhere.

“We kept it simple so it could be adapted to other websites. But we also wanted to create a homogenous street, in contrast to the stables that you see on the south side, where each one is different.”

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Another view of the open plan living area with the living room

In Victorian times, developers would have bought different lots and built the houses with slight variations, but the result would be a street of non-competing houses, like the houses around Stoneybatter. That’s what Philip and Peter wanted to achieve at Lucky Lane – they would develop the plan and hope that other properties would buy on the street and copy their design. “It didn’t quite work out, but it can still come to that,” says Philip. “At the moment six are built and another six have planning permission. Peter’s office, A2 Architects, drew up the plans for everyone.”

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The balcony in Lucky Lane

Philip and Peter started work on the first houses in 2008. Number 8 is one of these original buildings and is now for sale. This is Peter’s house and when he talks about it, he’s probably most proud of how energy efficient it is. “Air source heat pumps are fairly old technology and would have been widely used in passive houses back then. The one we have at home works very well. It heats the floor heating downstairs and there are two small radiators upstairs and the house is always warm.

“Energy costs are really low…dishwasher, washing machine, homework, heating, water – [costs] €170 per month [in winter] and in summer to around €45. Even with rising prices, the house is still very efficient. It’s also wired for solar panels in case anyone wanted to go further. You could run the air source heat pump with it most of the time.”

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A view of Lucky Lane and the steel front doors of the houses

Approaching number 8 from the outside lane, it’s hard to believe the level of architecture that lies ahead. The alley still looks quite industrial so you wouldn’t guess there were apartment units there unless you were told. However, once you open the huge steel door at the front, it’s like stepping into another world. It no longer feels like Dublin City, but more like New York or Paris. The courtyard, which can be used as a driveway if you wish to detract from its beauty, presents the property. The tall brick wall on the side and the glass from floor to roof are truly breathtaking.

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A double room with access to the inner courtyard

The courtyard leads to the entrance hall with polished Italian concrete floors. On this ground floor level are the three bedrooms and a utility room. The master is at the back with an ensuite bathroom. This shares the backyard with the second bedroom. To the front is a third double bedroom currently used as an office. It has its own entrance from the front of the house through a sliding door so would be ideal for a therapy or counseling room.

The living room is on the upper floor and is completely open plan. The kitchen units are to one side, with the dining and living area taking up the rest of the space, with a small space at the back of the kitchen for a desk. There is a balcony at each end of this large room – one facing north and the other facing south, so the space is always flooded with light. The brick walls will be built all the way up to enclose the property.

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The front entrance on Lucky Lane

“The large perimeter walls are quite protective against heat loss because the wind can’t whip the heat out, so it feels very sheltered and private,” says Philip. “You can do whatever you want in the house. There were great parties here. You also have some great views of chimneys and the church on Aughrim Street, but you never feel like anyone is looking in at you, which is hard to come by in the city.”

The total area of ​​#8 is 1,184 square feet, which includes a hidden shed in the front yard.

In the intervening years Philip has retired from architectural practice to move into academia. He is Assistant Professor of Climate Responsive Design at UCD and directs the Master’s program in Architecture, Urbanism and Climate Action.

It’s clear that our way of life is something Philip is passionate about and he still believes there is serious potential in the city to build with clever design, as seen on Lucky Lane. “This example of trying to build a new road is still relevant to what needs to be done in the city, now more than ever,” he says.

“Some people feel like they look like garages from the outside, but I think if you built the whole street like that and planted plants around it, it would look really fancy.”

The area is sure to be a major draw for buyers looking for a home close to the city in one of Dublin’s most desirable addresses.

“Stoneybatter has changed quite a bit over the past few years,” says Philip. “The excitement about this is extraordinary. I’ve been up there a lot lately and had lunch at different places and found that it’s totally changed since we first lived there.

“It has such a refreshing energy. There’s room for cafes to spread out, and it has this optimism that’s kind of contagious.

“The redevelopment of Grangegorman was also a turning point for the area. The connection from Constitution Hill to Prussia Street makes cycling up there so pleasant. It’s green, there are no cars and it’s so direct.”

Lucky Lane’s development might not be what Philip and Peter were hoping for at the time, but that doesn’t mean it won’t get there.

Peter and his team at A2 Architects remain available to share the plans with interested parties and work with them through the process. Philip hopes more people will come forward to help create this new road and that the government will find ways to encourage people to build low-carbon homes that he helped create.

“I would love to see 80 per cent of the plots developed in such a way that you get a homogenous road that is logical and coherent so that in the future I could cycle there and think the road contributes to the life of Stoneybatter and I was a part of it.”

No 8 Lucky Lane is on the market through MoveHome Estate Agents with a target price of €595,000.

https://www.independent.ie/life/home-garden/the-idea-was-that-we-would-build-a-new-street-ambition-abounds-on-lucky-lane-41858813.html “The idea was that we would build a new road” – There’s a lot of ambition at the Lucky Lane lot in Stoneybatter

Fry Electronics Team

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