University College Dublin logo
Ms Orla Murphy


Orla Murphy

Lecturer/Assistant Professor
School of Architecture, Planning and Environmental Policy
00353 86 8634361
University College Dublin, School of Architecture Planning and Environmental Policy, Richview Sch of Architecture Belfield Dublin 4


An architect in private practice, I have been involved with the teaching Architectural Design and History and Theory of Architecture in the School of Architecture since 1996. On graduating from UCD in 1995, I worked with Gerry Cahill Architects and subsequently with Grafton Architects. Between 2004 and 2011 I worked in the Westport studio of Simon J Kelly + Partners Architects focusing on housing, school design and the development of architectural practice within Irish towns. In December 2014 I founded Custom Architecture, which specialises in design, research and engagement practice.In 2007 I was appointed architect in residence by Cavan County Council, and spent a year investigating and mapping the public space of Cavan town. This research culminated in the exhibition and book Atlas of Cavan, which was first launched in November 2008. Arising out of this research I was awarded the Kevin Kieran Award for 2009-2011 by the Arts Council/OPW, which supported my research in practice, into the changing Irish rural town. This research was based on a fieldwork based exploration of the medium-sized rural town as a viable urban alternative to the city. An important aspect of the research has been the dissemination of its findings; through publication, public talks and workshops and through animated film. I was involved with Building Material, the Journal of the Architectural Association of Ireland between 2002-2008 and was editor of Issues 17 and 18. I have also contributed to Architecture Ireland, the RIAI Annual Review and the Irish Arts Review and was joint editor of the UCD Architecture Yearbook in 2012 and 2013. I am co-presenter of Building Ireland, a documentary series examining Ireland's built heritage produced by Esras for RTE.My work in practice and the academy is based within the broader question of how architecture can be a part of positive societal change. I continue to be interested in how architecture can engage with a public audience and in testing and employing combinations of media and formats to achieve this, and in developing methodologies of participatory planning and design.


  • Studio Lecturer
    University College Dublin30 Dec 1999


  • Project Architect
    Gerry Cahill Architects1 May 1997 - 30 Apr 2003
  • Project Architect
    Grafton Architects1 May 2003 - 30 Aug 2008
  • Project Architect
    Simon J Kelly + Partners Architects1 Sep 2004
  • Owner
    Custom Architecture1 Dec 2014


  • BArch