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Colum Mulhern, Architecture Traditionnelle

General presentation

Colum Mulhern (1958, Belfast, Northern Ireland). received his BSc in Architecture in Queen’s University, Belfast, in 1982 and his DipArch from Thames Polytechnic in London in 1984. He lives and works in Luxembourg since then.

By the time he began Part 2 of his architectural education, Colum Mulhern was convinced that the use of classical and traditional architectures and urbanism was the only sustainable means of building for the future. All his work since that time has been faithful to that conviction.

Having studied architecture in his native Belfast, and later in London, he began his professional career with architects Hermann & Valentiny in Luxembourg in 1984.

From 1988 to 1997 he worked in partnership with Lucien Steil, and continued to practice as an independent architect in Luxembourg until he was joined by his daughter, Anne-Catherine, in 2019.

From 1989 to the present day, he has worked with Leon Krier on projects in Europe and the UK.

 

Projects:

Renovation and expansion project for an artist’s house near Clausen in Luxembourg.

The artist initially bought the house thinking there was no space to work, planning to restore it for rent. However, the idea shifted to creating an underground art studio with openings for terrace lighting, providing access to the garden. Due to UNESCO restrictions on exterior additions, the studio was buried with one side exposed for energy efficiency. The existing house, heavily transformed since the ’60s, required roof and floor replacements, a new staircase, and connection of the three levels.

The project prioritized energy efficiency, sustainability, and ecology. Insulation was done with calcium silicate or wood fiber boards. Exterior masonry used insulated clay blocks with lime plaster. Interior masonry used bricks and clay blocks. Windows were replaced with painted wooden frames and double glazing. The interior environment was made healthy with lime plasters and ecological mineral paints. The traditional roofing was clad in natural slate in the outer part, insulated with rock wool inside, and covered with clay layers and mineral paint.

Historical tiles and reclaimed oak beams were used for flooring. Old woodwork in the first-floor office was restored. Hygienic ventilation was integrated into the new structure. Heating was provided by an air/water heat pump installed in the upper garden above the buried technical room.

New barn in a historic village

The owners of this beautiful 19th-century estate asked us to expand their farm and add a new barn with two housing units for workers. The farm is located just steps away from the church in the heart of Weiler-la-Tour. The challenge was to create a structure in harmony with the surrounding buildings, contributing to the enhancement of the village center.

The new buildings are constructed with insulated masonry, featuring Luxembourgish vernacular details. Oak arches salvaged from the demolition of the old building were repurposed as a loggia, preserving the memory of the site. The farmyard was entirely paved with reclaimed antique Luxembourg sandstone pavers, acquired gradually during the progress of the work.

This project received an “Urban Infill, Award of Merit for Excellence in Urban Design” at the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU) Awards in the United States in June 2014.

Mixed-use building

 In the 129 rue de Strasbourg in Luxembourg, executed between 2019-2022.When the Client of this building contacted me, he told me that this would be a fairly banal program without much architectural interest. But every project we do, regardless of the size or nature of the building, is an opportunity to do something good.

We have used a typology present in the streets of pre-Haussmann Paris, where often a mezzanine floor with semi-circular windows overlooked the large windows of the shops on the ground floor, giving the impression of a succession of arches along the street (photo).

 

 

Diploma

BSc in Architecture, DipArch

Category

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