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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.

Building Costs in Ireland 2016

Every year we share useful information to guide you on the costs for your construction project in Ireland. This article will help you to estimate an approximate figure for your building costs.

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…

LEADER Funding is Here – Time to Bring Your Ideas to Life

LEADER grant aid of almost €8 million would be invested in innovative community and enterprise projects throughout county Wexford between now and 2020.
Considering the competitive process involved and the fact that it is likely that preference will be given to projects that have full planning permission in place we advise you to engage an Architect for your project as soon as possible.

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.

Spanish Architects Receive Pritzker Prize 2017

  Rafael Aranda, Carme Pigem and Ramon Vilalta (RCR Arquitectes) were awarded the 2017 Pritzker Prize. It is the 2nd time that this prestigious prize goes to a Spanish Architect (Rafael Moneo was the 1996 winner). The Pritzker Architecture Prize is awarded annually to honor a living architect or architects whose built work demonstrates a

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Gone On Holiday


It has been a busy year and we really REALLY need a break!


We will be back August 16th with batteries fully charged and looking forward to working with our wonderful clients.



Please note our office will be closed for holidays from August 1st to August 15th. We will reopen Wednesday August 16th.


We wish you all a Happy Summer!




The Power of Pozzolans


The use of lime dates back to pre-historic times. Lime is derived from limestone, a sedimentary rock formed mainly of skeletal fragments of marine organisms such as coral and molluscs. Its major materials are the minerals calcite and aragonite, which are different forms of calcium carbonate.

It is generally held that the Greeks began the large scale production of lime-based mortars in Europe and it was from there that the technology spread to Rome.

The Romans early recognized the need for a mortar that could be used under ground and under water – the development of hydraulic mortars is credited to them and the use of Pozzolans was crucial for this.




Pozzolans would include volcanic ash or clay brick/tile dust – these would be added to the lime mortar mix to create a faster set and reduce the mortar’s vulnerability to frost and rain.

Vitrivius describe Pozzolans as producing “astonishing results” and he explains the process behind them:


The Ten Books on Architecture, Vitrivius


Lime Pozzolan binders are obtained by the addition of a Pozzolan (natural or artificial) to the lime while mixing mortar. A natural Pozzolan is a volcanic material, which originally derives from Pozzuoli, an Italian region around Vesuvius. Pozzuoli earth was used in the Roman mortars but other natural Pozzolan are Santorini earth (Greece) and trass (Germany).

Artificial Pozzolans include metakaolin, silica fume, brick dust (preferably low fired brick) and others such as fly ash.


Caesarea is the earliest known example to have used underwater Roman concrete technology on such a large scale. Photo by James Cocks www.jamescocks.com.


Pozzolans became the backbone of Roman construction and were incorporated in the ‘Roman Concrete’.

Pozzolans of Pozzuoli were used to build ‘La Via Appia’, the Colosseum and the Pantheon of Rome. The fact that the mix could harden under water allowed the Romans to extend their empire along their coastines which gave them a strategic advantage.

Interestingly, lime Pozzolan concrete still has a place in today’s construction technology, not only because of its original characteristics but particularly because it can also offer significant carbon savings and potentially present huge environmental benefits. After all, lime is a remarkably efficient natural absorber of carbon dioxide and it could sequester carbon emissions in a very effective way.

Interesting readings:


Isabel’s Picks for Summer 2017



Add a bit of fun


Bica chair, Oliva, Meridiano Vibia, Outdoor light , Bio-blaze, Bioethanol outdoor stainless steel fireplace, Small Pipes, Popek whatshisname, Sculpture dog




Name: Bica chair

Price range: from €331

Material: Iron steel with polyester coating.

Key facts: Available in +200 colours. Indoor and outdoor versions available.

Available to Ireland from:  Bica Chair



Manufacturer: Bio-Blaze

Product Name: Pipes Small

Price range: € 519

Material: High quality powder coated steel.

Key Facts: This fireplace uses bio-ethanol fuel. It is a free standing fireplace that is placed on the floor. It is possible to affix them on the floor for more security. Heating capacity: 2 KW. Autonomy: +/- 3 hrs – 0.11 l/h

Available to Ireland from: Bio-Blaze



Brand: Vibia

Name: Meridiano 4715

Designer: Jordi Vilardell & Meritxell Vidal

Price range: €1361

Material: Steel, Polyurethane foam and Glass.

Key Facts: Meridiano can be used as outdoor seating by day and an outdoor lamp at night. Available in three colours: khaki, green and off-white. Equipped with a LED light source which provides an indirect light from beneath its cover

Electrical Characteristics: 1 × LED 9W 350mA

Available to Ireland from:  Oliva Iluminación



Artist: Whatshisname

Product name: POPek

Price range: from €125

Available to Ireland from: Whatshisname


See More Picks

See Full Gallery of Isabel’s Picks

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