First studied philosophy, then architecture at UCD and later architecture at University of California Berkeley. Following a time in architectural practice in London and Dublin, he began teaching in design studio and the history and theory of architecture at the School of Architecture UCD. He then engaged with urban communities on environmental issues, co-founding the Urban Workshop in Dublin in the 1970s. He was appointed Director of Conservation Studies and later Professor of Architecture at UCD. He has been instrumental in developing successive Government policies on architecture and architectural heritage protection. Now Emeritus Professor of Architecture and Fellow of the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland, he advises national and international bodies, helping to shape public policy on architecture and the protection of the built cultural inheritance.
Stones in Water explores how the inherited built environment is understood and valued. This inheritance, created by the forebears of communities worldwide, is central to cultural identity everywhere. It is variously protected, exploited and at times weaponised, used to celebrate human achievement and also to undermine it.
This curated collection, written over a period of years, reflects on persistent themes in heritage protection. These range from the implications of tourism for the cultural heritage of buildings and landscapes, to supporting recovery from the impacts of catastrophic events affecting historic places.
The need to maintain the useful lives of inherited environments brings new demands and, also, fresh opportunities. Stones in Water: Inheritance in the Built Environment draws on the author's work, nationally and internationally, to interrogate how current and emerging challenges are changing perceptions of this endowment, and how new understandings can contribute positively to constructing a sustainable future.