Monday | 15th July 2024

From vacant shed to futuristic office: How AOF Architects brought life to Dún Laoghaire’s laneways

07. 02. 2022

Max O’Flaherty

Our Why Dún Laoghaire campaign for this month continues and in this edition we speak to a leading architectural company which made the move from the city centre to our vibrant town.

Aughey O’Flaherty Architects, also know as AOF Architects, is an award-winning practice that operates from Dún Laoghaire in a unique conversion in West Lane.

We speak to director and architect Max O’Flaherty about the business and why he chose our town for their company to be headquartered in.

AOF – Making “homes that improves people’s lives” from Dún Laoghaire!

“We are an architectural firm that specialises in houses and in housing,” Max says.

“The quality of your environment directly impacts on the quality of your life, so the quality of your home has a huge impact on your mind, body and spirit. We make exquisite homes that improve people’s lives.”

The generosity of space, the light, the connection between outside and inside, and the connection with nature can all combine to give a sense of joy in a home and AOF’s campaign to deliver this joy for their clients is what sets their practice apart, says Max.

Why Dún Laoghaire? “It has so much going for it”

Max says they have a lot of clients in the Dún Laoghaire county area and reveals that was one of their reasons for moving from the city centre to the suburbs.

“We found that a lot of our clients were actually in south Dublin and we were going out from town to Dún Laoghaire, Dalkey and surrounding areas a lot of the time,” he said.

So what are the benefits of moving to Dún Laoghaire? “In one way they’re really obvious but not so directly linked to work,” he says.

“Dún Laoghaire has so much going for it, I really think it’s totally underrated, the amenities on offer, the pier walks, the waterfront, the numerous swimming spots, the People’s Park, the market…

“There’s so much on offer from business, retail to restaurants.”

Max also says the amenities the town offers suit people during the working day and also during their personal hours away from the office.

Originally from Galway, Max and his family now call Dún Laoghaire home. Like other contributors, the work-life balance improvement has also been felt for Max, who lives just five minutes from the office and no longer faces a long commute into the city centre each morning.

“The quality of life balance is much improved. I’m able to see my kids in the morning before work and again for dinner in the evening, which is huge,” he says.

“I have a short and pleasant walk to work which is so much less stressful than my previous 50- minute commute. I would like to acknowledge that while I am travelling less, some of my team are travelling more and to thank them for that!”

A typical day for AOF Architects…

We asked Max to share an insight into what a typical day might look like in the life of an architect.

“It varies a bit depending on the day, but there would be site visits and inspections,” he explains. “So that would see me going to assess a property or to a construction site to inspect progress and quality.

“On a regular basis we’d have meetings with client’s and they might be in person in the office in Dún Laoghaire or at the actual property. Quite often the property will be in the area.

“Other times, I’ll be at my office with my team collaborating and discussing ideas. There’s eight of us on the team and they’re all architects. And so we send a lot of time reviewing designs and producing the drawings required to build a design.”

“Our town hosts great architecture”

From old to new our town’s has great architecture that Max agrees catches the eye – whether you’re a visitor or resident!

“From old in terms of Crosthwaite Park to Royal Terrace, they are amazing,” he says. “The quality of the architecture and the quality of the urban design is fantastic.”

“Right through then to the new and the DLR Lexicon Library which is just breath-taking. Looking at it from the end of the Pier I think it is an amazing addition to the landscape and the Dún Laoghaire waterfront.”

Max mentions how the new bathing spot which is opposite The People’s Park and currently under construction and restoration work is going to be a great addition.

Back lanes can create more housing options

He also stresses how back lanes within our town can be rejuvenated and transformed into living spaces for our generation, creating more housing options within the heart of the town.

“West and East Lane, the laneway off Patrick St, there are loads of back lands that really have potential,” says Max.

Towards the end of our chat Max’s daughter interjects to say that Teddy’s Ice Cream is an important part of the town – and we couldn’t agree more!