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St Joseph’s Church, Dublin

A delicately handled restoration of the original floor for the 105th anniversary of this beautiful Church in south Dublin


St Joseph’s Church in Glasthule, Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin was designed by ecclesiastical architects Pugin and Ashlin in French gothic-revival style, and built in 1869. Pugin, regarded as one of England’s greatest architects, was an advocate of French Gothic Revival styles and was responsible for over 100 churches including Shrewsbury Cathedral. In preparation to celebrate the 150th Anniversary of St Joseph’s Church, this beautiful old building, which backs on to the seafront, was in a deteriorated state of repair and in need of substantial restoration work.

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  • Client:
  • Silvia Mambriani

  • Location:
  • Glasthule, Dublin

  • Architect / Designer:
  • Howley Hayes Architects

  • Sector:
  • Restoration

  • Completion Date:
  • October 2018

The Brief

Project Architect Silvia Mambriana of Howley Hayes Architects wished to restore the original Victorian style, period flooring that had been removed and replaced with linoleum during previous renovations in the 1950s. Taking inspiration from some of the original tiling that still existed in other parts of the building, Silvia wished to source new encaustic tiles that replicated these Victorian floors and restore the surfaces to the Pugin and Ashlin’s original specifications. Due of its reputation, for understanding the etiquettes of the surroundings and delivering high quality contract tiling packages for conservation projects, Armatile was asked to become involved. Its brief was to work with the Architect and Contractor to design, source and fit the Victorian tiling package in order to restore the buildings original architectural features for future generations to benefit from.

Sourcing the Floor

Working to the Architects project specifications Armatile used archive imagery from the early 1900s to detail probable designs, patterns, sizes, colours etc. The team then visited the site with coloured swatch tiles from different manufacturers. It perfectly matched the original flooring with product samples from UK manufacturer and fellow TTA Member Craven Dunnill Jackfield. Armatile’s in-house design team then drew up the floor designs for the client’s approval and itemised each individual piece required to be ordered from the manufacturer for the project.

Creating Solutions

While the seating areas to the left and right of the aisles were built on wooden raised floor systems, the aisles themselves were a concrete substrate. Unfortunately when the main contractor started to remove the linoleum flooring the substrate completely disintegrated. Armatile engaged with fellow Tile Association Member Mapei UK to inspect the damaged substrate and provide a professional, detailed specification of products to the client that would deliver a long term, sustainable solution for the substrate and maintain the integrity of the finished surfaces for generations.

It is widely accepted that time and cost are two of the most prevalent elements in every project. To guarantee all budget and deadline challenges were overcome, Armatile optimised its in-house manufacturing services of cutting and pre-assembling repeating patterns on modular mesh-mounted panels. On receipt of the individual pieces from Craven Dunnill Jackfield it mesh-mounted them on modular interlocking geometric panels before dispatching them to site. This service dramatically eased installation on site, significantly reducing fitting time and labour costs, and ensured the visually striking new floor comfortably exceeded all of the heritage project’s requirements.

Installation of Bespoke Tile Surfaces

As the time-consuming elements of laying each small piece on site had been removed off-site by Armatile’s geometric tile panel manufacturing system its Contract Team efficiently carried out all the substrate repair and installation of the finished floors in less than a week; with minimal disruption to all other trades on site. On completion of installation Armatile followed the project specific specification provided by fellow Tile Association Member Fila to clean and protect the newly installed encaustic tiles.

Working in partnership

Armatile has a reputation for working on heritage projects. It has now delivered over 150 in the past decade. With a sympathetic approach to restoration its team expertly interprets design needs and translates each client’s creative vision into reality. This project is a great example of how Armatile works in partnership with all project stakeholders, including the architect, builder and users to deliver a tailored surface solution that not only met but exceeded the clients brief for this Heritage Restoration Project. It worked with fellow Tile Association Colleagues Craven Dunnill Jackfield, Mapei UK and Fila to provide tailored solutions for its clients and deliver high quality tile products and services.


The completely refitted floor looks like it was installed during the original construction period in the 1860s. It is an example of how Armatile’s entire team utilises its vast experience and knowledge in the heritage sector, and works with all the key stakeholders in the industry to help clients preserve the integrity of beautiful, historic buildings for present and future generations to enjoy.