A key component of living in Marianella is the wonderful outdoor space, which incorporates many of the 19th-century trees that exist on the site. Much work would have to go into preserving these magnificent trees on the site, but Head of Landscape Architecture Daibhí Mac Domhnaill saw these as less of a challenge and more as inspiration to create something truly special for Marianella.
“From Day One, Marianella offered something really fantastic. It was really a case of holding what was there and giving it the space to flourish. We did this by wrapping a park around the apartments, incorporating a lot of these old trees, and adding in features such as a play area, a small outdoor gym nestled in the trees, and some seating in the best suntrap in the grounds.” The legacy of a site like Marianella also has its responsibilities too, as Daibhí explains:
“With Marianella, we are benefitting from the Georgian and Victorian residents of the original house who planted the conifers and the evergreen oaks, and it’s incumbent upon us to leave another layer of features that build upon that and provide a positive legacy for two to three generations at least. Part of this was to plant new trees to regenerate the tree cover on the site when the older trees come to the end of their natural life.”
A site like Marianella has much in common with the leafy setting of Rathgar, and it was important to come up with a design that would fit in seamlessly with its surroundings, as well as having its own distinctive character. “The approach to Marianella was definitely influenced by the local context, the tones and textures of the area, and drawing inspiration from that, whether that’s in the hard landscaping materials or the planting. But I believe that every new development is a new layer to the city, and should have its own accent and identity too, which you try to do through design and composition, but in a way that harmonious and respectful of the local context.”
But in the end, it’s about creating a space to be lived in, to be loved and to be cherished for generations to come. “What brings a smile to my face is thinking about the residents looking out on the gardens, and what the outside space will bring to their lives,” says Daibhí. “When the residents go in and out of Marianella, for example, coming home after work, I would hope that their spirits would be lifted by the beauty of the park and the courtyard gardens.”