Describing Architecture

MCM_images-01 (photo by Peter Barrow)MCM_images-03 (photo by Alice Clancy)MCM_images-02 (photo by Alice Clancy)DA13-8220MCM text web 2DA13-8197DA13_8177DA13-8155

Dublin City Morgue / McCullough Mulvin


Photographic Prints 8″x10, Timber Model, Text

McCullough Mulvin Architects


A new Dublin City Morgue was planned near the Casino in Marino, a delicate Portland stone pavilion in a damaged 18th century landscape. Located on the site of another (vanished) pavilion in the original garden – the Gothic Room – the new building re-imagined the implicit relationship, becoming another stone pavilion, now within a walled garden, enclosing its most private functions, from arrival of a hearse to the private grieving of a relative in a garden. Internally, the plan is programmatically marked off into medical boxes of paired, roof lit it autopsy rooms and ancillary functional spaces, with labs, offices and record holdings around a courtyard.

Externally, the cube of Portland stone was eroded, cut into – a monument made frail by weather, by the knowledge of mortality, the incision of light in a roof garden mimicking the pathologist’s blade. The building, started on site in 2010, was ~30% complete when the contractor went into liquidation, leaving a huge basement and skeletal rising walls. A building about death came to understand its own demise. The unfinished project, photographed by Alice Clancy, had its own power,its own materiality, its own associations with death. Light entered it in different ways across raw concrete; water ran down the walls, plants grew between the crevices.

After two years, the upper structure was demolished; the basement was infilled, a giant piece of archaeology best seen from the air.




1     Aerial Photograph, 2013 (Peter Barrow)

2-3 Photographs, 2011 (Alice Clancy

4     Model (City Models)

5     Text, 2013 (Niall Mc Cullough)

6     Exhibit

7     Exhibit in context

8     Niall Mc Cullough presenting the project