Dublin has a weekly bird market, dating back over 460 or perhaps 900 years, depending on the source. We stumbled on it in its current location – Peter Street – the morning I photographed Molyneux House, though I wasn’t yet aware the two were connected.

Molyneux House is a conversion of Molyneux Church, and completed in 1973, it was home to Stephenson Gibney & Associates. The practice’s work in Dublin is notable for many reasons, some for design (the Institute for Advanced Studies, or the Irish Management Institute in Sandyford), some for planning controversy (ESB Headquarters on Lower Fitzwilliam Street), and others for both (Central Bank). Molyneux House presents a distinctive but understated face to Bride Street, like a cluster of vertical brick-clad elements holding flush, reflective glazing. There’s a sculpted depth to it, with tall shadows between elements, the chamfered (bevelled) edges, and the overhang high above the sign.

It’s built on the site of the old Bird Market, and Sam Stephenson provided the walled garden by the side of the building for use by the traders, who had recently been fined for selling birds in a public place. From the Irish Times, May 13 1974: “Mr. Jo Mann presented Mr. Stephenson with a white cock canary and thanked him on behalf of the traders.” (Here’s a mega nostalgic series of images of the market in busier times.)

Whether the arrangement lasted for Stephenson Gibney’s tenure or was more short-lived, I’m not sure, but there’s definitely still a small market very close to its old home.

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