Arigho Larmour Wheeler Architects
Jane Larmour is a Director of Arigho Larmour Wheeler Architects, a design-led and client-focused cross-border Irish architectural practice established in 2014 with a principal studio in central Dublin. Registered in the UK with ARB and a member of both the Royal Institute of British Architects, and the Royal Institute of Architects Ireland she is also involved in architectural research and education. She has taught in the School of Architecture at Queen's University Belfast since 2009 and is currently completing a PhD in Architectural History at Ulster University.
We interviewed Jane about her experiences co-founding an architecture practice and her plans for the future.
What made you decide to set up your own practice?
Mark, Pat and I all met in Dublin in 2004. Having enjoyed the experience of working for some of the best architectural design studios in Ireland, the time felt right and we made serious plans to set up our own practice in 2014. As an architect your instinct is to be creative in everything you do and building a company is an extension of that. Just as in a project when you are making the first drawings and there is excitement about where it is going to go - growing the company is like that, with the added bonus of being, to some extent, in control of shaping your future and the kind of work you might attract. We are excited about where we might be as a company in five, ten years and the kind of work we will be making.
How would you describe your style of architecture?
Architecture is probably one of the most long lasting, and expensive design investments a person will make, so any design needs to outlast any fleeting fashions. We set out to make buildings which are useful and beautiful backdrops against and in which people's lives can play out. For us it’s about getting to know and understand our clients needs and responding with the right balance of creative and pragmatic solutions, adding beauty and value through design. We really enjoy the detailed design of our projects and enjoy the challenge of finding appropriate materials for each project, working with our clients to arrive at solutions which respond to their aspirations and complement existing conditions. We get inspired travelling and looking at great architecture and ideas we pick up on our travels often find their way into our work.
What are some of the exciting projects you are currently working on?
At the moment the majority of our work is for residential clients, which is hugely enjoyable as those projects involve working closely with people to create or improve some of the most precious spaces in their lives. We have a number of conservation projects on protected structures currently on site - they are a joy to work on as every day you are on site you can see them transforming and taking on new life. We are currently working on a handsome Victorian Townhouse in south Dublin, returning it to a single family home after being split in to 8 apartments for the last forty years, which is very near to completion. Currently, much of our work tends to be centred on the Dublin city suburbs but we are also working on a beautiful barn-like house in the countryside and have taken on new commissions in Belfast.
What type of building would you love to design in future years?
The three of us have all worked on significant public buildings in previous practice, including a theatre, art galleries, community buildings and commercial headquarters. In addition to our residential work, we look forward to the prospect of taking on public commissions in the future. It can be hard for newly established practices to move in to larger scale work and open competitions are often a way in, they are also exciting times of intense activity in the studio. We are fortunate to have had success in two pan-european architecture and urbanism competitions which focused on housing, master-planning and public buildings, in Dublin and Ås, Norway, which called for the regeneration of a town square.