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Brandon House Hotel Returns to its Full Glory

Most conservation challenges are complex and many difficult challenges have arisen during the Works. Isabel Barros Architects are proud to have achieved a fantastic result through good collective teamwork and strict budget control.

River House – Kilkenny

The site presents a number of challenges, including a house over 150 years old, the proximity to a Special Area of Conservation (River Nore), the existing topography, and so on…

Irish Construction Costs 2017

Useful information to guide you on the costs for your construction project in Ireland. This will help you to estimate an approximate figure for your building costs.
In 2017 the Irish economy will continue to recover but a shortage of skilled labour has lead to an upward trend in tender levels.

The 15,000 Tile Building

Covering external walls with ceramic tiles is a Portuguese tradition with at least 500 years. The new MAAT (Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology) in Lisbon took this tradition one step further and used 15,000 wall tiles to cover its walls.

The Secret Guide to Deal with Architects – Take 10

Good or bad! Your Architect wants to hear from you. Your Architect wants to know if you are happy with his/her services, how can he/she improve or if there is a better way to do things.

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How Many Churches Are Falling Down?

Churches in Ireland retain a considerable significance, they are often the most prominent buildings in their locality and possess architectural, historical and social significance.

Many churches have become neglected or abandoned. And many have suffered from incorrect repairs that were done most of the times with the best of intentions.

How many churches are falling down we don’t know but we know what can be done to avoid further damage:

  • Do use experts. When it comes to repairing a church building getting the right advice is very important. Churches can be amongst the most complex of historic building types and the nature of their conservation often requires specialist advice. It is a false economy not to get proper advice before carrying out work. Bad repair works can be difficult and expensive to undo and can damage a building in the long-term.
  • Do repair the parts of the building that need it. Remember, an aim of good conservation works is to do as much as necessary, yet as little as possible.
  • Do make sure appropriate materials and repair techniques are used.
  • Do make sure all interventions are reversible and where appropriate visually identifiable.
  • Do identify and understand the reason for failure before undertaking repairs.
  • Don’t over do it. Remember, minimal intervention should be the aim.
  • Do engage tradespeople with skills in traditional building methods or experienced conservation professionals.


The primary aim of conservation is to prolong the life of something of value. Churches provide unique evidence of our past, they are witnesses to centuries of worship, architectural skill and community history. Let’s do what we can to avoid seeing churches falling down.

Isabel Barros is a RIAI registered Architect accredited in Conservation at Grade 3, please contact us today if you need assistance with your Church project. We can also help in the procurement of grant funding to assist with repair and/or maintenance works.


Recommended reading: Old Buildings: Why Things Go Wrong


Isabel’s Picks for Autumn 2017


Relax and feel grateful



Isabel's Autumn Picks 2017, Vzor Armchair, AROMA DIFFUSER, Pollmeier,BauBuche, abbeywoods, Sembla, door handle, Ultrafabrics lever handle, Allgood





Brand: Vzor

Designer: Professor Roman Modzelewski

Name: RM58 Soft Armchair

Price range: from €780

Key facts: Available in a wide range of colours (Camira Synergy fabrics).

Available to Ireland from:  eporta.



Product Name: Scented Oil Diffuser

Price range: €34.39

Material: PP/ABS (plastic)

Key Features: Operates quietly under 35 decibels. Generates vapor without heat, which best preserves the integrity of the essential oil. 7 colourful dimmable LED light.

Available to Ireland from:  HappyNesty



Manufacturer: Pollmeier

Name: BauBuche

Price range: n/a

Material: Beech

Key Facts: With only razor thin glued joints in between the veneer, layers are precisely fit into one another. The flooring is very robust and extremely hard (Brinell hardness HB = 38,2 N/mm2).

Available in Ireland from:  Abbeywoods



Brand: Sembla

Product name: 3623UF Sembla Ultrafabrics lever handle

Price range: n/a

Available to Ireland from: Allgood plc


See More Picks

See Full Gallery of Isabel’s Picks

The 15,000 Tile Building



Covering external walls with ceramic tiles is a Portuguese tradition with at least 500 years. The new MAAT (Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology) in Lisbon took this tradition one step further and used 15,000 3D wall tiles to cover its walls.



Traditional Portuguese tiles ('azulejos')

Traditional Portuguese tiles


The MAAT tiles were manufactured in Barcelona by the same company that worked with Antoni Gaudí, and it’s still working in ‘La Sagrada Família’.

Wall tiles, MAAT Lisbon

Wall tiles, MAAT Lisbon


The 60cm high tiles are hollow to reduce the weight. The architect says they will (intentionally) start cracking very soon.


Some interesting facts about MAAT:

  • 15,000 hexagonal wall tiles cover the building.
  • The tiles are mechanically fixed.
  • Designed by Amanda Levete Architects by direct invitation.
  • The Museum Director is an Architect – Pedro Gadanho (former MoMA curator).
  • 420 m2 of minimal frame windows – PanoramAH system.
  • The central gallery has an oval shape and it is below the river level.
  • Construction cost: €20 million.
  • Construction cost per m²: €2,702. (Gross internal floor area 7,400m²).
  • It is possible to walk over the roof.
  • Owned by the Portuguese electricity and gas provider EDP.

15,000 wall tiles cover the MAAT’s walls


It is possible to walk over the MAAT’s roof.



Visit MAAT’s website here.

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