custom is a platform for collaborative practice in architecture founded by Orla Murphy, with a focus on research, public engagement with architecture and design. Below are some of the projects I’ve collaborated on. Many focus on the rural towns in Ireland, their character, value and conversations about their future.

Town Centre Living Initiative Synthesis Report

This report records the findings of the Department of Rural and Community Development’s (DRCD) Town Centre Living Initiative (TCLI) using primary data received directly from the 6 pilot towns and participants. The Town Centre Living Initiative (TCLI) is a pilot scheme managed by the Department of Rural and Community Development (DRCD) where up to €100k […]

Ballinrobe Adaptive Re-Use

This project was commissioned by Mayo County Council as part of its Heritage Plan, to explore the potential for adaptive re-use of 3 existing long term vacant buildings in Ballinrobe for re-use as homes. The project included liaison with the building owners, to see what supports would help them to upgrade and re-use the buildings, […]

Free Market

In 2017 Orla Murphy, Jo Anne Butler (Culturstruction & Superfolk), Miriam Delaney (DIT),Tara Kennedy (Culturstruction & CCAE), Jeffrey Bolhuis and Laurence Lord (AP+E) were selected to co-curate the Irish National Pavilion at the 16th International Architecture Venice Biennale in 2018. The Irish Pavilion, entitled Free Market highlighted the generosity, humanity and possibility in the public spaces […]

Building Ireland

Building Ireland is a television documentary series that explores the industrial, landscape and built heritage of Ireland. Over three seasons, each consisting of six episodes, key places, buildings and landscapes are documented. The series is co-presented by Orla Murphy, Susan Hegarty and Tim Joyce, and is produced for RTÉ by Esras films.

Donegal Traditional Shopfront Guidance

Donegal County Council commissioned this publication as part of the County Donegal Heritage Plan with support from the Heritage Council. The purpose of the publication is to provide an insight into the character and quality of traditional shop fronts in Donegal, their role as part of the living heritage and built fabric in the county […]

Mulranny Geodesign Workshop

Mulranny Geodesign Workshop Phase 1. Geodesign is a methodology for planning large-scale urban and landscape settlements devised by Harvard Professor Carl Steinitz and used to design and evaluate how to plan and design future settlements. Steinitz has been developing on online Geodesign platform with Hrishi Ballal of UCL over the last two years. The Mulranny […]

Beyond Pebbledash

As part of the Beyond Pebbledash Engagement Programme, curated by the National Museum and Dublin City Arts Office, Custom delivered a series of workshops for families and secondary school students from 3 schools in Dublin City in conjunction with Culturstruction and Bláithín Quinn. The City Makers workshops explored the qualities of a good city, good neighbourhoods […]


TOWN is the result of a 2 year research project, carried out with the support of the Arts Council and OPW Kevin Kieran Award 2009-2011.  Four case study towns were studied – New Ross, Longford, Bandon and Westport during the course of the research, which included a morphological study and contemporary analysis.  A manifesto for […]

Town Short Film

A key part of the Kevin Kieran Award dissemination of research, TOWN is a short animated documentary that engages a broad audience with the ideas and research behind the broader Town research project. Written and directed by Orla Murphy. Animation and Art Direction by Orla Mc Hardy. Screenings Kerry Film Festival Cork Film Festival Galway […]

Mapping Towns Offaly

As part of Offaly County Council’s 2013 Engagement with Architecture Programme, Custom collaborated with Offaly Co. Co. in the design and delivery of Mapping Towns Offaly, through which local communities mapped, recorded and made proposals for their towns, mentored by local architects.  The local communities came together at the end of the project to exhibit […]

Atlas of Cavan

Orla Murphy and Dermot McCabe were appointed architects in residence in Cavan Co. Council in 2007.  As part of the residency, they mapped the laneways between Cavan town’s two main streets and designed and produced a hand-made Atlas recording them.  Secondary school students contributed to the research, through a series of workshops. The work residency […]

Westport Re-Imagined

This project was a collaboration between several architectural practices in Westport, each of which responded to sites within the town as part of the Westport 2007 Arts Festival. Our project involved the survey and record of two long sections through this ‘planned town’, which were then drawn at large scale and hung along the section […]

Uncle Vanya

Set Design and installation for TheatreWorksWest’s production of Anton Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya, in Westport and the Linenhall Arts Centre Castlebar. The backdrops were also presented at Describing Architecture 2014 in the City Assembly Rooms Dublin.