Researchers at UCD


Orla Murphy


School Of Architecture
Richview Sch of Architecture
Dublin 4

Tel: +353 1 7162757


An architect in private practice, I have been involved with the teaching Architectural Design and History and Theory of Architecture in the School of Architecture since 1996. On graduating from UCD in 1995, I worked with Gerry Cahill Architects and subsequently with Grafton Architects.  Between 2004 and 2011 I worked in the Westport studio of Simon J Kelly + Partners Architects focusing on housing, school design and the development of architectural practice within Irish towns.  
I was involved with Building Material, the Journal of the Architectural Association of Ireland between 2002-2008 and was editor of Issues 17 and 18. I have also contributed to Architecture Ireland, the RIAI Annual Review and the Irish Arts Review and was joint editor of the UCD Architecture Yearbook in 2012 and 2013.

In 2007 I was appointed architect in residence by Cavan County Council, and spent a year investigating and mapping the public space of Cavan town. This research culminated in the exhibition and book Atlas of Cavan, which was first launched in November 2008. Arising out of this research I was awarded the Kevin Kieran Award for 2009-2011 by the Arts Council/OPW, which supported my research in practice, into the changing Irish rural town.  This research was based on a fieldwork based exploration of the medium-sized rural town as a viable urban alternative to the city. An important aspect of the research has been the dissemination of its findings; through publication, public talks and workshops and through animated film.  

My work in practice and the academy is based within the broader question of how architecture can be a part of positive societal change. I continue to be interested in how architecture can engage with a public audience and in testing and employing combinations of media and formats to achieve this. In 2014 I co-presented Building Ireland, a six-part documentary series about the architecture, engineering and geography of 19th century Ireland.


Honours and Awards

Year: 2014.
Title: Best Educational Building_Highly Commended_Oughterard National School
Year: 2013.
Title: RIAI Best Research Project - Highly Commended
Year: 2013.
Title: Galway Film Fleadh - Special Mention
Year: 2013.
Title: Community Recognition Award
Year: 2012.
Title: AAI Special Mention
Year: 2009.
Title: Kevin Kieran Award 2009-2011
Year: 2007.
Title: Opus Architectural and Construction Award
Year: 2006.
Title: Silver Medal for Housing


Association: Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland, Function/Role: Member
Association: Architectural Association of Ireland, Function/Role: Former Committee member

Conference Contributions

Murphy, O and Hughes, F (2014) And Action!: Keeping it Real in Dublin's Suburbs. [International Refereed Conference], aae 2014 Living and Learning, University of Sheffield , 04-SEP-14 - 05-SEP-14.
Orla Murphy (2013) About Town. [Invited Oral Presentation], RIAI Annual Conference, Dublin , 29-SEP-13 - 29-SEP-13.
Orla Murphy (2013) TOWN. [Invited Lecture], Carlow 800+, Carlow , 24-AUG-13 - 24-AUG-13.
Orla Murphy (2012) The Place of Ritual in Irish Towns. [Invited Oral Presentation], May on our Doorstep, Linenhall Arts Centre, Castlebar , 01-MAY-12 - 01-JUN-12.
Orla Murphy (2012) The Daily Dance. [Oral Presentation], Mapping Spectral Traces - Corp_Real symposium, Town Hall Theatre, Galway , 19-APR-12 - 21-APR-12.
Orla Murphy, Hugh Campbell, Lisa Cassidy (2012) Centenary Symposium. [Conference Organising Committee Member], Architecture for Society: Practices and Projects, Earlsfort Terrace, Dublin , 24-MAR-12 - 24-MAR-12.
Orla Murphy (2012) Town. [Invited Lecture], Engage Architecture Festival, Daingean and Bangher Libraries , 07-MAR-12 - 08-MAR-12.
Orla Murphy (2011) Town. [Invited Lecture], Cashel Arts Fest, Cashel , 15-NOV-12 - 15-NOV-12.
Orla Murphy (2012) About town. [Invited Oral Presentation], Architecture for Society: Practices and Projects, Earlsfort Terrace, Dublin , 24-MAR-12 - 24-MAR-12.
Orla Murphy (2012) StreetLife. [Invited Lecture], Heritage as an Engine of Economic Growth in mid-sized towns, Wood Quay venue, Dublin , 26-JAN-12 - 26-JAN-12.
Orla Murphy (2012) StreetLife. [Refereed Abstracts], Untitled: All Ireland Architectural Research Group, DIT Bolton Street , 20-JAN-12 - 20-JAN-12.


Employer: University College Dublin
Position: Studio Lecturer
Employer: Simon J Kelly + Partners Architects
Position: Project Architect
Employer: Grafton Architects
Position: Project Architect
Employer: Gerry Cahill Architects
Position: Project Architect


Year 1998 Institution: Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland
Qualification: MRIAI Subject: Certificate in Professional Practice
Year 1995 Institution:
Qualification: BArch Subject:

Outreach Activities

In 2011, I coordinated a public workshop, entitled Draw Together with Aine Gallagher and Dermot McCabe as part of Westport Arts Festival.  

This workshop facilitated participants in a public drawing exercise to observe, record and draw the public space of their town. 

Journals Edited

Building Material: Editor.

Other Activities

Describing Architecture 2014: Stage set design drawings for Theatre Works West production of Uncle Vanya by Anton Chekhov.
Film Screenings of TOWN:
Kerry Film Festival
Open House Galway
Westport Arts Festival
Corona Cork Film Festival
Chicago Irish Film Festival - Honourable Mention
Galway Film Fleadh - Special Mention
Blackrock Animated Film Festival - Community Recognition Award
DOK Leipzig 
Mapping Towns Project in collaboration with Offaly County Council.
A programme was designed to enable communities in 5 towns in Offaly to use their embedded knowledge to map their towns with the assistance of local architects who acted as mentors and facilitators in the process.  
The project was part of ENGAGE and was supported by the Engaging with Architecture Scheme supported by the Arts Council. 


2009 A Day in the Light, Westport, Dublin, and Cobh

2009 Everyday Architecture Mayo, Westport

2008 Atlas of Cavan, Farnham Library, Cavan

2007 Westport Re-Imagined, Westport, Co. Mayo



Orla Murphy (2012) Town: origins, morphology & future. Westport, Ireland: Orla Murphy. [Details]
Orla Murphy and Dermot McCabe; (2008) Atlas of Cavan. Mayo: Self published. [Details]

Book Chapters

Murphy, Orla (2013) 'TOWN: Origins, Morphology & Future; a reflection on a research project on the future of Irish towns' In: Dr Sandra O'Connell (eds). The RIAI Annual Review. Dublin, Ireland: RIAI. , pp.14-17 [Details]
Murphy, Orla; McCabe, Dermot; Contributor Simon J Kelly + Partners Architects (2012) 'EDGE OF TOWN: Claremorris Local Area Offices' In: John O'Regan and Nicola Deary (eds). New Irish Architecture 27. Kinsale, Co. Cork: Gandon Editions. , pp.118-125 Available Online [Details]
Orla Murphy; (1997) 'Building in the Irish Landscape' In: Annette Becker, Dr. John Olley and Wilfried Wang (eds). Ireland 20th Century Architecture. Munich: Prestel. [Details]

Edited Books

Hayes, Michael; Murphy, Orla (Ed.). (2013) UCD Architecture Yearbook 2013. Dublin: UCD. [Details]
Orla Murphy, Stephen Tierney, Lisa Cassidy (Ed.). (2012) UCD Architecture 100. Dublin: UCD. [Details]

Other Journals

Murphy, Orla (2013) 'To School under a Big Sky - review of an Carnaun National School by Paul Dillon Architects' Architecture Ireland . [Details]
Orla Murphy (2012) 'Extended Territory, a review of Housing at Kilmeena Co. Mayo' Architecture Ireland 2 (262) :34-35. [Details]
Orla Murphy (2009) 'Community Purpose' Irish Arts Review 26 (4) :108-111. [Details]
Murphy Orla, editor; (2009) 'Global Local' Building Material (18) . [Details]
Murphy Orla, editor; (2007) 'Critical Practice' Building Material (17) . [Details]
Murphy, Orla and Naughton, Elaine; (2006) 'Read Write Draw' Building Material (15) . [Details]
Murphy, Orla; (2004) 'Existenz Minimum' Building Material (12) . [Details]
Muprhy, Orla; (2004) 'Zumthor's Baths, a sensual guide' Building Material (12) :44-47. [Details]


Orla Murphy (2012) From House to Home: A Long Conversation. Galway, Ireland: Catalogue [Details]


Gray, Brian; Kelly, Peter; Murphy, Orla; Hegarty, Susan; Joyce, Tim (2014) Building Ireland. Ireland: Video/TV [Details]


Murphy, Orla; Quinn, Blaithin (2014) Beyond Pebbledash Engagement Programme. Ireland: Workshops [Details]

Film Production

Orla Murphy and Orla Mc Hardy (2012) TOWN. Film Production [Details]


Research Interests

My recent research has focused on the Irish rural town. This research is currently being disseminated via short animated film and written publication. Town: origins, morphology and future was published in November 2012 with the support of the Heritage Council. A short animated film, called Town, which I wrote and directed with Orla Mc Hardy has screened and been awarded at film festivals nationally and internationally. This research work was awarded Highly Commended in the RIAI Awards in 2013 in the Best Research Project category.

I recently collaborated with Offaly County Council on a project called Mapping Towns, which involved working with communities in 5 rural towns within Offaly to assist them in the mapping of their own urban space, with a few to forming strategies for their future development.  I am currently designing and delivering a series of public workshops (with Bláithin Quinn and Culturstruction) as part of Beyond Pebbledash, supported by Dublin City Arts Office, Dublin City Council (Paul Kearns + Motti Ruimy), and the National Museum of Ireland, funded by the Arts Council under the Engaging with Architecture Scheme.

I am interested in public engagement with architecture and how the discipline can adapt its means of communication to increase public debate and discussion of issues relating to contemporary architecture and the built environment.    
These interests continue to inform teaching projects in the Graduate School in UCD Architecture, which have included 5th year thesis groups over the last 4 years, with Fiona Hughes, and ongoing studio projects in 4th year.



Teaching Philosophy

I believe the space of the University and in particular the shared endeavour within the Studio culture can provide a stimulating environment for students to define and hone their intellectual and practical approach to architecture. This foundation can then be reinforced through creative exchange with aligned disciplines.


Internal Collaborators

Fiona Hughes, Emmett Scanlon, Michael Pike, Robert Bourke, Stephen Mulhall

External Collaborators

Dermot McCabe_Architect, Simon J Kelly + Partners Architects, Westport
Orla Mc Hardy_Artist, animator and teacher based in Chicago, USA and Ireland.
Rachel McKenna_Offaly County Council
Ruairi O'Cuiv_Dublin City Arts Office