Nov/Dec 2012

Ciaran O’Connor
Ciaran is the State Architect/ Principal Architect in the Office of Public Works His previous position was Assistant
Principal Architect with responsibilities for a wide variety of new-build, conservation and landscape projects. He is presently completing the government’s Green Public Procurement document for Construction.

Ciaran high quality resolution

How would you best describe the OPW’s approach to design and architecture?
To promote architectural design that rises above pure utility, beyond basic construction, to combine all that is practical and necessary, both functionally and
economically, with buildings and landscapes that are culturally meaningful, humane and beautiful.  

What was your reaction to being named as Principal Architect at the OPW?
I was delighted and honoured to be appointed Principal Architect of OPW, with the added role and responsibility of also being State Architect, with an overarching role across government.  The position of Principal / State Architect has a distinguished history from the time of Francis Johnston to the present.  

What is your ambition for the role?
We cannot walk backwards into the future.  I want to see the quality tradition of OPW combined with innovation.  Tradition does not mean preserving ashes, rather keeping the flame alive.  We must establish new co-ordinates, be more agile, responsive and better connected by matching the aspirational with the politically practical.  I want to work within OPW and with my colleagues in other government departments, in the wider public service; the construction sector and related professions, to help re-create a properly functioning construction sector that is sustainable and vibrant.  I want active two-way engagement with all concerned.  Architecturally, we need to enrich the present and honour the past.  Educationally I want to maintain the Graduate Training Programme and develop links with the Schools of Architecture and Built Environment.

What personal qualities do you bring to the role?
A design-oriented drive for quality and cost effectiveness. A track record of achievement in new build, conservation and landscape design.  A capacity for research. A willingness to listen.  A team builder with high expectations and persistence.

Is there an OPW creative house-style, and how would you describe it?
I believe in Unity in Diversity rather than branded house styles.  It is the quality of concept, design and execution that is important rather than applied stylistics.

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