City architect of Dublin, 1922-1945. Horace O'Rourke was born on 21 March 1880 at 34 Richmond Place North, Dublin, a son of Francis Patrick O'Rourke, an accountant, and his wife Martha, née Rafferty. AUBREY VINCENT O'ROURKE was a younger brother. His name appears on his birth certificate as Horace Patrick Joseph O'Rourke, but later his second and third names were replaced by 'Tennyson'. He was admitted a pupil at the Christian Brothers' O'Brien Institute, Marino, on 1 July 1892. According to the account of his early career in the Directory of British Architects, which is based on his RIBA nomination papers, he attended classes at the Dublin Municipal School of Art and the Architectural Association of Ireland and was an assistant to GEORGE COPPINGER ASHLIN for five years, to WILLIAM MANSFIELD MITCHELL for three years, to JAMES PURCELL WRENN and to WILLIAM HENRY BYRNE for two years before setting up in independent practice in Dublin in 1907. A reconstruction of his early career from other sources is somewhat different, indicating that in 1905 or 1906 he moved to Limerick - though still apparently maintaining a toe-hold in Dublin - and that in 1908 he formed a partnership with JOSEPH O'MALLEY , of Limerick, which practised as O'MALLEY & amp; O'ROURKE and lasted until 1910, when O'Rourke returned to Dublin. It was from a Limerick address that he exhibited his competition design for the Limerick Technical Institute at the RHA in 1908, while the 1911 Census of Ireland records that his eldest daughter, Ethel, was born in Limerick in 1907 or 1908, and his son DERMOD BREFFNI O'ROURKE was also born there in 1909. At the time of the census, in April 1911, the family was living in lodgings in Phibsborough. In the same year, O'Rourke started a new architectural journal, the Irish Architect and Craftsman, in collaboration with GEORGE PATRICK SHERIDAN . The magazine, renamed the Irish Architect & Building Trades Journal in 1912, only survived for three years.
On 6 March 1916 O'Rourke was appointed to the permanent staff of Dublin Corporation, for which he had previously been working in a temporary capacity. He became assistant city architect on 1 April 1918 and succeeded CHARLES JAMES MCCARTHY as city architect on 13 February 1922 at a salary of £800 per annum, rising to £1,000 by £25 increments. As city architect he was responsible for rebuilding the Upper O'Connell Street area after the hostilities of July 1922.
Not long after his appointment, O'Rourke threw his energies into the preparation of The Dublin Civic Survey Report which was published by the Civics Institute of Ireland in 1925. In the same year he visited Holland with THOMAS JOSEPH BYRNE to study Dutch methods of house construction. He nevertheless remained a traditionalist in his architectural taste and by the mid 1930s was expressing open hostility to the modern movement, 'the soapbox style of Jewish origin'.
O'Rourke retired at the end of June 1945. Around the time of his retirement he was awarded the new RIBA Distinction in Town Planning. He died, aged eighty-three, on 30 December 1963 at the St John of God Hospital, Stillorgan, his wife, Anna, having predeceased him. He was survived by his son, Dermod, and five daughters.
AAI: elected member, 1900; winner of travelling studentship, 1905; winner of Downes Bronze Medal for sketches, 1907; unsuccessful entrant for Institute Prize (design for a country house), 1908; winner of Institute Prize (design for a golf pavilion), 1909; reads paper on housing, 2 March 1916; reads paper on 'Control of building elevation', 12 November 1940; no longer on list of members after 1927.
RIAI: elected member, 1920; raised to fellow, 1924; resigned 1947.
RIBA: elected licentiate, 7 November 1910, having been proposed by J.P. Wrenn and G.P. Sheridan; elected fellow, 4 July 1932, having been proposed by FREDERICK GEORGE HICKS , JOHN JOSEPH ROBINSON and HENRY JOHN LYONS.
Addresses: Work: 10 Glentworth Street, Limerick, 1908-1910; 11, O'Connell Street Lower, 1911; 23 Bachelor's Walk, 1912-1914; City Hall, Dublin, 1916-1945.
Home: Bellevue, Haddon Road, Clontarf, <=1903-1905; Mortelle Villas, Munster Terrace, Limerick, 1906; 8 Crescent Avenue, Military Road, Limerick, 1907-1909; Haddon Road, Clontarf, 1910; 52 Cabra Park, Phibsborough, 1911; Lytleholme, Cabra Road, Dublin, <=1914-1927; Brentwood, Brendan Road, Donnybrook, <=1928-1947.
See WORKS and BIBLIOGRAPHY ; see also works of O'MALLEY & amp; O'ROURKE.
Portrait photographs of O'Rourke - both the same - appear in IB 78, 22 Aug 1936, 739 and IB 87, 8 Sep 1945, 450.
Information from copy of birth certificate in Jones file.
Information from Jones file.
Directory of British Architects 1834-1914 (RIBA 2001), II, 290.
He advertised himself as a perspective draughtsman at 15 College Green (his father's business address) in November 1906 (see his business card, designed by himself, in IAA, James Purcell Wrenn collection, Acc. 2009/20 (miscellaneous papers) on loan from Mrs Dympna Carton and Mrs Oonagh Maguire.
RHA 1908, no. 297; in the same show he exhibited 'Sketches at Westminster' (no. 293) and 'Sketches in Ireland' (no. 300), both for sale at £5 each.
IB 53, 18 Feb 1911, 109; Sean Rothery, Ireland and the New Architecture 1900-1940 (1991), 34,58-59. The journal was acquired by the Brunswick Press Co., and O'Rourke was retained as editor for a much reduced salary for a further 18 months until his dismissal in 1914 (see Freeman's Journal, 30 Jun,10 Nov 1914).
Dates and details of O'Rourke's career with Dublin Corporation are given in letter from the Principal Officer, Dublin Corporation, to Jones, 21 Jun 1968, in Jones file.
IB 64, 25 Feb 1922, 101,113; Building News 122, 3 Mar 1922, 160.
IB 66, 28 Jun 1924, ?; a correspondent in IB 87, 8 Sep 1945, 450, asserts that 'Upper O'Connell Street stands as a monument to the fight that O'Rourke successfully waged against business and professional interests whose rebuilding plans - had they not been brought together and co-ordinated - would have perpetuated the architectural disorders of former days', but cf. Rothery, op. cit., above, 83-85.
Rothery, op. cit., above, 149-50.
Rothery, op. city., above, 123-4,210.
See note 6, above.
IB 87, 30 Jun 1945, 307.
Copy of death certificate in Jones file.
Lists of members in AAI Green Books.
IB 47, 3 Jun 1905, 385.
IB 49, 1 Jun 1907, 385.
IB 50, 25 Jul 1908, 462(illus. in supplement).
IB 51, 26 Jun,25 Dec 1909, 400,402(illus.),807.
IB 58, 11 Mar 1916, 109.
IB 82, 21 Dec 1940, 751; 83, 4 Jan 1941, 16.
JRIAI (1921), 2.
JRIAI (1925), 7.
JRIAI (1948), 18.
RIBAJ (1910-11), 30.
RIBAJ 39(1931-32), 674,725.
From Thom's directories and AAI and RIAI membership lists unless otherwise attributed.
Information from Jones file.
IB 56, 17 Jan 1914, 48.