In Fourem we strive to influence the creation of practical, meaningful and economic works that are fully considerate of function and the desires of a design brief. In new works we aim to be considerate of existing context. In conservation we aim to maintain as much of the existing fabric of any significant structure or setting as is possible. In restoration we aim for accuracy and maintenance of an academic level of cultural significance with practical expenditure. In addition to historic settings we aim to use new elements to assist the adaptation of buildings and settings to new uses within a respectful aesthetic.

Fourem is based in Cork City and we are greatly interested in what makes the city and countryside specific in design and environmental terms. We study the detail elements of historic buildings and have a large catalogue of information and images concerning the specifics of design and detailing of historic buildings. Our study and experience has led to a true understanding of the chronology of the development of Irish buildings of the 18th, 19th and 20th Centuries.  We study the minute elements of architectural and structural methods and expression that exist in Irish Architecture. We are unique in that we specialise in conservation and in contemporary design and in this way we are pro development through design solutions. We are fully aware of the financial constraints of development and the need to represent a specific function and even aesthetic requirement. We believe that our approach, philosophy and ethic represent a balanced and informed approach to design that is beneficial to our clients in the broadest sense which includes financially.


The study of urban design, architecture, conservation and our experience, has given us an understanding of how a building, town, city or landscape has evolved to become what we know today. We promote the careful analysis of the many disparate influences that have caused development throughout history. Our experience has allowed significant involvement in public and private projects relating to structure, design, conservation, restoration and feasibility. Above all we are a creative practice and strive to produce the most considerate solution to any design brief.

We wish to be involved in the promotion of new, ingenious and economically viable development that does not create loss to antique, cultural or environmental value and is an enhancement to and greatly beneficial to the owner. The issues of design requirements, structure, history, rarity, the landscape, material quality and sustainability of a site, monument or structure are all considered.

In our project work, we have cooperated with a number of artisans, academics and consultants. All our work refers to the current development plans and guidelines produced by local, national and international bodies.

Design Philosophy

Good design may be represented by economy.  Economy is represented in all elements of nature as all things evolve to suit their purpose.  The result is sustainability and great beauty.  Economy pares down elements to their basic necessity, yet it is aware of all aspects of the environment and combines minute consideration to create the final form.  Beauty results from this level of refinement and consideration. An optimistic outlook and a fine awareness for aesthetic may produce awe inspiring results. Everybody recognises good design.

Conservation and Restoration

Conservation requires respect for existing resources in the built environment and within nature.  In conservation, the retention of fabric without damage is necessary.  Only real knowledge of a subject through research will allow for accurate restoration.  New intervention into historic fabric should be discernible as new but not detract from the original.  Balance and academic authenticity leads to considerate environments. We believe that conservation can be combined with the promotion of development.

In restoration we aim to be strictly academic in research and that we only create true restoration under that name. We recognise the complexity of intervention with historic structures and carefully balance the influences of environment and brief on any project to create the most considerate design solution. We understand through experience that the level of readability of modernity or addition within an historic setting needs to be tempered if true cultural significance is to be maintained but that an element of real evidence of providence must always be present however subtle.

We have been involved in the assessment and repair of many historic structures, and work closely with national and international bodies and other professions, to achieve sensitive and holistic engineering solutions for repair and upgrading. We are always updating our approach to sustainability in design.

Project Types

New Buildings in Historic Settings, Repair and Restoration of Historic Buildings, Planting and Intervention to Historic Landscapes, Conservation of Historic Structures and Spaces, Conservation of Items of Joinery and Plasterwork, Reconstruction / Restoration of Historic Detail, Conservation and Feasibility Reports, Design of Furniture and Fittings.