No. 84 & No. 85 Marlborough Street are situated in a historically important location in the city centre, adjacent to the Pro Cathedral and opposite Tyrone House and are both Protected Structures. No. 85 Marlborough Street was constructed soon afterwards 1757-1758 as part of the Gardiner Estate. A map of 1847 shows both buildings with landscaped gardens to the rear of No. 85.
The brief was for a full redevelopment of the site as retail (basement and ground) with residential apartment units over. The development qualified for the Department of the Environment and Local Governments “Living Over The Shop” Scheme (LOTS), the design had to confirm with specific requirements of the initiative in order to qualify for the tax breaks.
As the buildings were both Protected Structures the conversion had to be sensitive to the original fabric, the implementation was complex balancing retention and protection of the historic fabric with the essential upgrades required to comply with the LOTS scheme and to meet building regulations.
The original basements had been closed off. The design reintroduced street access and a lightwell, restoring surviving railings and reinstating missing sections. New shop fronts were reinstated with a simple contemporary design following scale and proportions of the original design. The historic pawnbrokers sign was retained and restored.
The apartments are accessed from street level through the original entrance doors. The decorative plasterwork in the first-floor rooms of 84 & 85 Marlborough Street is of a Rococo style, similar to that executed in neighbouring Tyrone House which is attributed to the La Francini brothers. The upper floors had been used for storage and were in a very poor condition. They had been sub-divided – often with partition walls cutting into decorative ceilings.
The main Piano Nobile rooms to the front of the buildings were retained as large kitchen and living spaces with a screen rather than wall separating the spaces. This approach facilitated the retention of the original room volume, the decorative ceilings were repaired and restored to their original design.
The rear site at 1/1A Cathedral Street was also developed as a new high density infill building, six storey over basement, residential over ground floor retail units.