Lusk Masterplan

Lusk is a small town in North County Dublin at the heart of the market gardens that supply the capital city. The town has an unusual plan in that its heart lies in and around the buried imprint of an early Christian monastic enclosure, a series of concentric circular forms with a central church and round tower that still dominates the town across the flat landscape. 

The study which crossed architecture, planning and urban design - provided a basis for bringing the town into the 21st century while conserving the best of its existing character. It also developed into an exploration of how the new architecture of small Irish towns could be improved and codified. Consideration of sustainability extended the towns traditional market garden function and dovetailed with new conservation ideas for the protection of ordinary cottages, street lines and orchards, developing a policy for the effective use of open space as much as for further development. Integrated approaches were based on the threads of the town plan. The central monastery enclosure was left unbuilt as a planted garden/archaeological park with new circulation routes across and through it. Limited infill was to be provided in light, archaeologically sensitive timber construction. 

The next circle was open to controlled development with examples provided to show morphological and material concepts, generating a library of modern approaches to infill development in small Irish towns. A third periphery was carefully planned with larger schemes - including an integrated eco-village whose plan used the pre-existing geometry of urban plot layout, and a series of grass-roofed shopping and institutional uses cut into the landscape.