New Irish Houses by Dominic Stevens
by Sarah A. Lappin
The resume of Dominic Stevens includes the following manifesto: "I run a one person practice from a truck container in a field in rural Ireland. I divide my time between architecture, caring for my children and growing organic food. I carry out one building project at a time informed by ongoing theoretical work. My work evolves as a series of firmly held beliefs tempered by practice."
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After years working in Berlin and Dublin, Dominic Stevens decided in 1999 to relocate his life, family, and practice to rural south Leitrim, and as such represented the first influx of new families to move into the area in more than a generation.
As his manifesto suggests, architectural practice for Stevens is directly connected to the method by which he lives his life: his house, working methods, and immediate environment are all essential to his practice of architecture. Most projects in which he has been involved center on the scale, materiality, setting, and questioning of the domestic sphere.
An early entry to the Architectural Association of Ireland's annual awards was not a single house but a system for intervention into the existing Dublin housing stock he calls "domestic acupuncture." His first book, domestic, was published in 1999, and his research as part of the Kevin Kieran Award and bursary for architectural research resulted in the book rural, published in 2007.
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This article is excerpted from Full Irish: New Architecture in Ireland by Sarah A. Lappin, copyright © 2009, with permission of the publisher, Princeton Architectural Press.