Áit Urbanism + Landscape were appointed by Dublin City Council in 2014, to be part of an external design team to undertake a Local Environmental Improvement Plan (LEIP) for Francis Street in the antiques quarter of the Liberties in Dublin 8. The Part 8 planning submission and public consultation was undertaken in 2018 in collaboration with DBFL and CSR Planning Consultants. One of the many challenges of the scheme was the need to retain the heritage of this historic streetscape, whilst modernising its layout for an improved pedestrian experience.
Since the project inception in November 2018, Áit Urbanism + Landscape have collaborated closely with DCC Roads Design Division, South Central Area Office and DBFL with a view to designing an attractive and coherent streetscape. Several site walkabouts were undertaken by the design team to review the various constraints and opportunities that could impact on the detailed design and implementation of the project.
The protection and retention of existing Leinster granite kerbs was highlighted as a primary consideration early in the design process, additional drainage, lighting, poor pavement and footpath surfaces, lack of signage and wayfinding were identified other important issues to be addressed.
Street trees are an important feature within any urban environment but are presently absent along Francis Street. The design team worked closely to identify suitable locations for tree pit excavations within the constraints of extensive underground services. Road alignment and parking layouts were then refined to create ‘build-outs’ into which trees could be accommodated. The works have now been completed (2023).
Leinster Granite heritage stone kerbing was surveyed and recorded in detail in order to retain the street’s historic materials and relaid . The re-laying of the existing granite heritage kerbs to the new kerb line location was a collaborative process with the conservation department of Dublin City Council . The works have now been completed (2023) and have transformed the streetscape.