First Quarter

First Quarter

By: John Tuomey

Publication Date: 19 October 2023


In this reflective and enriching memoir, John Tuomey navigates the places and memories of his life over the scope of twenty-five years. First recognised for the urban regeneration of Dublin’s Temple Bar, which included the construction of the Irish Film Institute, the National Photographic Archive and Gallery of Photography, his life in architecture led him to design social and cultural spaces such as the Lyric Theatre in Belfast, the Glucksman Gallery in UCC and the Victoria & Albert East Museum in London.

Imbued with many inter-textual references to poetry, drama and literature and written in limpid prose, this memoir is inherently literary in nature. Tuomey looks back to his early life where he was born in Tralee and lived in different counties around Ireland, from small towns to country landscapes, from schooldays in Dundalk to student activism at University College Dublin. He traces the pathways that led to his formation as an architect, reflecting on the many cultural and social influences on his life. He excels in capturing the social landscape of Dublin in the 1980s and pays particular attention to the many buildings and social hubs of the inner city. His transient years of moving from Dublin to London, and subsequently working in places like Nairobi and Milan, chronicle the international influences on his outlook. The key relationships in his life, including meeting his future wife, Sheila – a fellow student of architecture in UCD – and his pivotal employment by James Stirling in 1976, form the backbone of his personal and professional life.

Tuomey’s expertise in his field is unsurpassed, with meticulous detail given to the finer aspects of design and architecture. His thoughts on the challenges facing the encroaching erasure of city life in Dublin are essential reading for anyone with an interest in the future of building in the city.

John Tuomey and Sheila O’Donnell established O’Donnell+Tuomey in 1988. Tuomey was managing director of Group 91 Architects who designed the regeneration of Temple Bar as Dublin’s cultural quarter, completed in 1996. He was the inaugural Professor of Architectural Design at UCD from 2008–19 and has taught and lectured widely in European schools of architecture and at North American universities including Harvard and Princeton. He has exhibited six times at the Venice Biennale. He is an honorary fellow of the American Institute of Architects, and in 2010 he was elected a member of Aosdána, the affiliation of creative artists in Ireland. In 2015 he was joint recipient with Sheila O’Donnell of the RIBA Royal Gold Medal and the American Academy of Arts and Letters Brunner Prize, both awarded in recognition of a lifetime’s work.

First Quarter is a light, strong book, beautifully balanced and crafted; there is a sense of rightness to it. A wise and lovely read.’ Anne Enright

‘I loved this beautifully constructed book. It is open and exploratory about place and feeling, promise and possibility – that is the DNA of Tuomey’s written and built work.’ Edmund de Waal



Weight 0.25 kg
Dimensions 198 × 129 mm

Paperback w/ Flaps

Publication Date

19 October 2023



You may also like…