Niall McLaughlin Architects is a practice that designs high quality modern architecture. We put a strong emphasis on the inventive use of building materials, the qualities of light and the relationship between the building and its surroundings. We consider these issues to be more important than working in a particular style and hope that each project will be an original interpretation of the client, site, brief and budget.
We have been working since 1991 when Niall established the practice. Since that time we have grown to employ 15 people including three associates who have joined Niall in developing the practice. In 1998 Niall McLaughlin was selected as the UK Young Architect of the Year. Following this the practice’s achievements have been recognised nationally and internationally with numerous awards for its buildings, exhibitions, and publications. In 2001 Niall McLaughlin was made an honorary fellow of the Royal Institute of Architects in Ireland for achievements in architecture.
This practice does not specialise in particular building types. We consider our specialism to be high quality architecture and enjoy having a broad range of projects in the office; from town master plans, to schools, health centres, community buildings, group housing, private residential houses, exhibitions, furniture and bandstands.
For us, practice is understood as range of activities which are all necessary to each other - design of buildings, fittings and furniture; making buildings, installations and models; connecting speculation and practice, lecturing and writing about architecture; collaborations with craftsmen, artists and consultants.
We use a great range of materials in our building projects. We enjoy it most when we inventively combine traditional and new construction techniques. We relish unexpected juxtapositions. All of our designs are discussed with the makers, not just in terms of performance, but also as aesthetic propositions. A good builder generally has a good eye. The work shown here is less interested in the expression of technology by bolts, junctions and gaskets, more in the overall presence of a space. In particular the way in which materials alter space by modulating light; combing it, diffusing it, storing it, reflecting it, dulling it or changing its speed.
Most of the projects here are developed in relation to particular narratives. In many cases from the client’s own brief. We consider the briefing stage of a project to be a critical part of the creative process. This is where the client’s ideas can start us on the track to inventive proposals. The history of the site is frequently the starting point for architectural speculation. It is important that these stories are absorbed into the architecture so that they are only ever implicit; they are ways of bringing the project into being, not of explaining it when it is there.