Urban Design.

Cummins + Voortman RIAI Chartered Conservation Architects, Urban Designers, Artists,

BIM Consultants, Graphic Artists, Dublin, Tipperary, Kilkenny,  Ireland

Tel: 00353 567755745 Tel: 00353 12966507


As John Ruskin professed, “the measure of any great civilisation is in its cities, and the measure of a city's greatness is to be found in the quality of its public spaces, its parks and squares”. One can ad that the measure of any great civilisation lies in its treatment of its citizens. The city is meant to be built around the city dweller, to cater for the diversified and growing aspirations of its citizens that go beyond the satisfaction of basic needs. In this context “quality of life” and “liveability” are paramount and are terms often referred to in national policy documents without substantial definition. The root definition of liveability, as stated in the UN Habitat document, refers to those spatial, social and environmental characteristics and qualities that uniquely contribute to people's sense of personal and collective well-being and to their sense of satisfaction in being the residents of that particular settlement” (UN, 1996:par.135).

All urban design objectives flow from this need to serve the “greater good” and flow from the desire to create vibrant communities.

The urban designer recognises that the area between buildings is a special spatial entity that can be shaped and organised to form a coherent urban form at village, town or city scale. Urban Design can be defined at the art of making places, desirable places for people in which to interact, live, work and play. Yet the scope of urban design goes far beyond the physical appearance of a place, as it aims to produce a framework in order to achieve a careful balance between shaping space (form), providing infrastructure (flow) and selecting uses (function) in any given context in a way that is socially inclusive, economically successful and environmentally responsible. The quality of the public realm is dependent on this balance as much as it is dependent on the scale and detail of the space it embraces.

The work of an Urban Designer:

The work of the urban designer spans across a wide range of scales, from city wide interventions to small scale urban interventions for the benefit of private and public sector clients. Each project typically include a detail analysis of the existing context (in terms of planning policy, the built and the natural environment), the formulation of a clear set of urban design objectives and finally the creation of a comprehensive strategy in which the opportunities are identified and a clear vision is put forward in a highly presentable and accessible form.

One can imagine the role of an urban designer as being a beneficial interface between the Planning Authority and the architect or developer. It can be considered as a discipline that can inform and learn from Forward Planning at Local Authority level while having the potential to offer a 3-dimensional urban framework in which the discipline of architecture can flourish and find its own identity. All work in this area carried out by Cummins + Voortman in this area is through BIM. (Building Information Modelling)

Clients of Cummins + Voortman Ltd in this context include many Local Authorities (including Fingal Co. Co, Wexford Co. Co., Westmeath Co. Co., etc.) and commercial developers/enterprises.

DEVELOPER SPECIFIC SERVICES (Through Building Information Modelling-BIM)

As one of the few architectural firms to offer both an architectural and macro urban design (or Town Planning) package the firm is perfectly positioned to offer developers a total turnkey solution for large urban schemes where tight integration with development plans, local area plans and local authority requirements is required. It is much more efficient to have the same firm dealing with the macro moves at the Urban Design level in conjunction with the micro moves of designing each individual building or block. This ensures the tightest coordination possible, saves time and therefore money. And again remember all our work is carried out using BIM.

See also:

Site Potential Analysis:

Master Planning & Urban Framework Plans


Urban Design Overview (by Cummins + Voortman Architects & Urban Designers)

Urban Design