Dictionary of Irish Architects 1720 - 1940

Architect, of Dublin. John Joseph Robinson, one of the sons of JOHN LOFTUS ROBINSON JOHN LOFTUS ROBINSON , was born in 1887 and was thus only about seven when his father died in 1894. He attended the Dominican School, Wicklow from 1896 to 1899 and Clongowes Wood College from 1899 to 1903. With a view to entering the the priesthood, he pursued his studies at Clonliffe College and Maynooth College for the next four years but then decided instead to become an architect. In 1907 he became a pupil of GEORGE LUKE O'CONNOR GEORGE LUKE O'CONNOR , who had succeeded to his father's practice. After completing his articles in 1911, he then spent nearly a year in London in the office of LEONARD ALOYSIUS SCOTT STOKES LEONARD ALOYSIUS SCOTT STOKES , who at that time was working on designs for Emmanuel College, Cambridge, and a convent at Bexhill. In 1912, at the age of twenty-five, he set up in practice in Dublin in partnership with CYRIL KEEFE CYRIL KEEFE . In the same year the two young men took over the practice of GEORGE TIGHE MOORE. GEORGE TIGHE MOORE. (1) Robinson's measured drawings of the monks' waking shrine at Holy Cross Abbey, Co. Tipperary, and the western door of St Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin, were published in the Irish Builder in February 1913,(2) but, unlike his father, he never exhibited at the Royal Hibernian Academy.

On the outbreak of the First World War, Keefe joined the Army Sevice Corps, leaving Robinson to run the practice single-handed; in about 1916, Robinson also took charge of the practice of ROBERT DONNELLY  ROBERT DONNELLY and JAMES MOORE  JAMES MOORE when they too joined up. At the end of the war, in the spring of 1919, all four men moved from their respective offices in Nassau Street and Fleet Street to American Chambers, 14 Lower Sackville Street, practising as DONNELLY MOORE KEEFE & ROBINSON DONNELLY MOORE KEEFE & ROBINSON . They were joined by WILLIAM SEDGWICK KEATINGE  WILLIAM SEDGWICK KEATINGE in 1920. In 1925 Robinson and Keefe broke away to set up their own practice in Merrion Square, while Donnelly, Moore and Keatinge remained in the Sackville Street office. Keefe and Robinson's partnership - and close friendship - remained unbroken until Robinson's death. They were joined by Robinson's son Patrick J. Robinson in 1945 and by Andrew D. Devane by the end of the same year.

Despite an early interest in public housing and a considerable amount of commercial and industrial work, Robinson is probably best remembered as the architect of a number of Catholic churches in the Dublin diocese. He was official architect to the Eucharistic Congress of 1932, in recognition of which he was conferred with the honorary degree of Master of Architecture by the National University of Ireland.(3) As president of the RIAI, he was one of the delegates appointed by the RIBA to attend the 15th International Congress of Architects in Washington DC in September 1939.(4) He was assessor for the Dublin Garden of Remembrance competition in 1946(5) and one of the three assessors for the new church at Ennistymon, Co. Clare, in 1948.(6) In the 1950s he was on the architectural panel of the Arts Council.(7) He was a Knight of Malta and a Knight of the Order of St Gregory.

Robinson died on 30 January 1965 at St Michael's Nursing Home, Dun Laoghaire, and was buried at Deansgrange Cemetery.(8) He was survived by his wife, Kathleen, four sons and a daughter.(9) He left an estate valued at £39,963.(10)

AAI:(11) elected member, 1909; joint secretary, 1912-1913; committee member, 1913-1914; president 1921-22.
RIAI:(12) elected student, 1913; resigned as student, 1919;(13) elected member, 1922;(14) raised to fellow, 1924;(15) vice-president, 1929-1930;(16) president, 1938-1939.
RIBA:(17) licentiate, 1925; fellow, 1929.
Society of Architects: member by ?

Addresses: Work:(18) College Park Chambers, Nassau Street, 1910;(19) 39 Montpelier Road, Kentish Town, London NW, 1911; Commercial Buildings, Dame Street, Dublin, 1912; 1 & 2 Foster Place, 1913-1915; 11 Fleet Street, 1916-1918; American Chambers, O'Connell Street, 1919-1925; 8 Merrion Square, 1925-1947; 22 Baggot Street Lower, 1948 until death.
Home:(20) 87 Moyne Road, Rathmines, <=1915-1917; 5 Waltham Terrace, Blackrock, 1918->=1930; 22 Alma Road, Monkstown, <=1933->=1938; Inniscorrig, 24 Coliemore Road, Dalkey, <=1940 until death.

See WORKS and BIBLIOGRAPHY BIBLIOGRAPHY ; see also works of KEEFE & ROBINSON  KEEFE & ROBINSON and DONNELLY MOORE KEEFE & ROBINSON  DONNELLY MOORE KEEFE & ROBINSON and ROBINSON & KEEFE  ROBINSON & KEEFE and ROBINSON KEEFE & DEVANE. ROBINSON KEEFE & DEVANE.



References

All information in this entry not otherwise attributed is from the brief biography inAAI Green Book (1922), 9-10, the interview, 'May I come in?', in IB 64, 11 Feb 1922, 70-71, which is accompanied by a portrait photograph, and from the obituary in RIAI Year Book (1966), 55-6. Other photographs of Robinson are in AAI Green Book (1922), frontispiece, IB 79, 25 Dec 1937, 1119, IB 81, 10 Jun 1939, 477, RIBAJ 46 (1939), 853, and Article in Centenary Celebration of the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland and Conference of The Royal Institute of British Architects 21st to 24th June 1939, 9; a portrait of Robinson by George Collie, ARHA, is reproduced as the frontispiece to JRIAI (1938).

(1) IB 54, 12 Oct 1912, 580.
(2) Supplements in IB 55, 1,15 Feb 1913.
(3) IB 74, 5 Nov 1932, 988; JRIAI (1933), 9.
(4) IB 81, 5 Aug 1939, 657.
(5) IB 88, 26 Jan 1946, 52.
(6) IB 90, ? ?, 4 Sep 1948, 176,709.
(7) IB 95, 11 Apr 1953, 367.
(8) Notice of death in Sunday Independent, 31 Jan 1965.
(9) Obituary in Sunday Independent, 31 Jan 1965.
(10) ?Irish Times, 11 Feb 1968.
(11) Lists of officers and members in AAI Green Books.
(12) From RIAI lists of officers and members unless otherwise stated.
(13) JRIAI (1920), 4.
(14) JRIAI (1923), 4.
(15) JRIAI (1925), 7.
(16) JRIAI (1930), 14; JRIAI (1931), 16.
(17) RIBA Kalendar 1857-1958, 459.
(18) From AAI and RIAI lists of members unless otherwise stated.
(19) This was the address of Edwin Bradbury, rather than George L. O'Connor, suggesting that Robinson may also have worked in Bradbury's office.
(20) From Thom's directories.


42 work entries listed in chronological order for ROBINSON, JOHN JOSEPH


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Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUN LAOGHAIRE, ?, HOUSES
Date: 1915;1922
Nature: JJR and Robert Donnelly appointed architects 'respectively' for 2 artisans' dwellings schemes. (i.e. or also? 60 houses 'in district of Dunleary', for which tenders invited in 1922).
Refs: IB 57, 28 Aug 1915, 377; 64, 7 Oct 1922, 686

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, O'CONNELL STREET LOWER, NO. 014-15 (AMERICAN CHAMBERS)
Date: 1918
Nature: In destroyed area, 1916. Rebuilding, for P. Donnelly & Sons.
Refs: IB 60, 16 Nov 1918, 502

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, O'CONNELL STREET UPPER, NO. 005-7
Date: 1918-19
Nature: In destroyed area, 1916. Rebuilding, for P. Donnelly, coal merchant. Nearing completion, Aug 1919. Contractor: Wm. Kenny, St Ignatius Road, Drumcondra..
Refs: IB 60, 9 Nov 1918, 488; 61, 30 Aug 1919, 339

Building: CO. DUBLIN, LUSK, CHURCH OF ST MACCULLINS (RC)
Date: 1922-25
Nature: New church on 'Early Christian or Lombardic plan'.. FS laid by Archbishop Byrne, 19 Nov 1922. Opening ceremony performed 25 Jan 1925. Builder: Richard Gough, Cavendish Row. Carving of altars by C.W. Harrison & Sons. Cost: £19,000.
Refs: Drawings in IAA (on deposit from Robinson, Keefe & Devane), 86/93.9/1-34, also for temporary church on or near site, 86/93.5/1-7; IB 60, 5 Jan 1918, 5; 62, 20 Nov 1920, 725; 64, 22 Apr,6 May,3,17 Jun,22 Dec 1922, 282,310,393,426,830; 66, 6 Sep 1924, 770; 67, 7 Feb,21 Mar 1925, 94,230; Building News 114, 9 Jan 1918, 40; 123, 8 Dec 1922, 383; AJ 64, 18 Aug 1926, 205(illus.); advertisements in AAI Green Book (1928), 22, & AAI Green Book (1930), 9; Oireachtas Art Exhibition, 1932, no. 272,273; Capuchin Annual (11th year), 335(illus.); Architect & Building News, 126(illus.); RIAI Year Book 1948, 10(illus.)

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, WESTMORELAND STREET, NO. 037?
Date: 1922a
Nature: Offices for Messrs. Donnelly.
Refs: IB 64, 11 Feb 1922, 70

Building: CO. KILDARE, EADESTOWN, CHURCH (RC)
Date: 1923
Nature: Tenders invited for alts. and renovation, for Rev. W. Lockhart, PP.
Refs: IB 65, 13 Jan 1923, 14

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, CAMDEN STREET, NO. 041
Date: 1924
Nature: Alts.
Refs: IB 66, 20 Sep 1924, 822

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, FRANCIS STREET, CHURCH OF ST NICHOLAS OF MYRA (RC), PRESBYTERY
Date: 1924
Nature: Alt. & imps. to presbytery and schools.
Refs: IB 66, 31 May 1924, 496

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, FRANCIS STREET, CHRISTIAN BROTHERS NATIONAL SCHOOLS (RC)
Date: 1924
Nature: Alts. & imps. to schools and presbytery.
Refs: IB 66, 31 May 1924, 496

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, LEINSTER MARKET, SHOPS (006)
Date: 1924
Nature: -
Refs: IB 66, 6 Aug 1924, 698

Building: CO. DUBLIN, BLACKROCK, HOUSES (006)
Date: 1925
Nature: For Blackrock UDC.
Refs: IB 67, 13 Jun 1925, 480

Building: CO. DUBLIN, BLACKROCK, MAIN STREET, PREMISES
Date: 1925
Nature: Structural imps. Contractor: M.J. Greene
Refs: IB 67, 18 Apr 1925, 313

Building: CO. DUBLIN, BLACKROCK, TEMPLE PARK, HOUSES
Date: 1925
Nature: Housing scheme.
Refs: IB 67, 21 Feb 1925, 147

Building: CO. DUBLIN, BOOTERSTOWN, GROTTO AVENUE, HOUSES
Date: 1925
Nature: 6 1-storey, 6 2-storey houses ?and a further 8 houses.
Refs: IB 67, 17 Oct,28 Nov 1925, 858,975; B 129, 16 Oct 1925, 577

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, PEARSE STREET, ST ANDREW'S PAROCHIAL SCHOOLS
Date: 1925
Nature: Extension.
Refs: IB 67, 5 Sep 1925, 734; B 129, 4 Sep 1925, 370

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, HOWTH ROAD (KILLESTER), CHURCH OF ST BRIGID (RC)
Date: 1925-26
Nature: New church. FS laid Jul 1925 by Dr Byrne, Achbishop of Dublin. Dedicated 26 Sep 1926 by Rev. Dr Byrne, Archbp. of Dublin.
Refs: IB 67, 20 Dec 1925, 1042; B ?, 16 Jun 1939, 1120(illus.); Catholic Directory (1927), 616; design exh. Oireachtas Art Exhibition, 1932, no. 271

Building: CO. DUBLIN, BLACKROCK, NATIONAL SCHOOL OF ST JOHN THE BAPTIST
Date: 1926
Nature: New small, one-storey school in local granite; 'the whole design has that sturdy Classic simplicity characteristic of Irish building since the the eighteenth century'.. Opened Apr 1926. Cost: £8,200. Contractor: Macken Bros.
Refs: IB 67, 4 Apr 1925, 274; 68, 17 Apr 1926, 310; Architect & Building News 127, 28 Aug 1931, 246(illus.)

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, GLASNEVIN, PROSPECT CEMETERY, WALSH MEMORIAL
Date: 1926-29
Nature: Memorial to Archbishop Walsh (d.1921). Figure and sarcophagus by A.G. Power.
Refs: Clonliffe College archive, MS p139/4; Theo Snoddy, Dictionary of Irish Artists: 20th Century (1996), 399

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, FRANCIS STREET, CHURCH OF ST NICHOLAS OF MYRA (RC)
Date: 1927
Nature: Decoration. Contractor: The Craftworkers.
Refs: IB 69, 28 May 1927, 396

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, KILLESTER, NATIONAL SCHOOLS
Date: 1927
Nature: Tenders invited for erection of same.
Refs: IB 69, 14 May 1927, 361

Building: CO. MAYO, BALLINROBE, CHRISTIAN BROTHERS MONASTERY
Date: 1929
Nature: Add. to monastery at Schools.
Refs: IB 71, 13 Apr 1929, 332

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, O'DONOVAN ROAD, NO. 025-31 (SCOIL NA MBRATHAR NATIONAL SCHOOL)
Date: 1929-1930
Nature: New boys' school at Fairbrother's Fields. Contractor: O'Callaghan & Co., Charlemont Bridge.
Refs: IB 71, 16 Mar 1929, 240; 72, 18 Jan,29 Mar 1930, 67,292

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, ABBEY STREET LOWER, NO. 007 (CATHOLIC TRUTH SOCIETY)
Date: 1930
Nature: Preparation of premises for Eucharistic Congress.
Refs: IB 72, 12 Apr 1930, 337

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, MERCHANT'S QUAY, ADAM & EVE'S CHURCH (RC, FRANCISCAN)
Date: 1930s
Nature: Extensive additions (including or comprising mortuary chapel and tower?)
Refs: IB 72, 7 Jun 1930, 519;  Christine Casey, The Buildings of Ireland: Dublin (2005), 344-5.

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, HENRIETTA STREET, KING'S INNS
Date: 1931
Nature: Repairs.
Refs: IB 73, 1 Aug 1931, 685

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, BRUNSWICK STREET NORTH, NO. 077-91 (CHRISTIAN BROTHERS' SCHOOLS)
Date: 1932
Nature: Tenders invited for erecting adds. For Rev. Br. Murray.
Refs: IB 74, 26 Mar 1932, 312

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, PHOENIX PARK, ALTAR & COLONNADE
Date: 1932
Nature: For Eucharistic Congress. Contractor: Murphy Bros.
Refs: IB 74, 4 Jun 1932, 506

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, OFFALY ROAD (CABRA), NATIONAL SCHOOLS
Date: 1932-33
Nature: New schools (behind church of Christ the King). £30,000. Assembly hall added by Robinson & Keefe, 1936.
Refs: IB 74, 16 Jan,3 Dec 1932, 70,1094; 75, 9,23 Sep 1933, 769,826; 78, 16 May 1936, 433

Building: CO. ARMAGH, LURGAN, NORTH STREET, CHURCH OF ST PETER (RC, SHANKILL PARISH)
Date: 1933
Nature: Hanging Cross of Austrian oak, carved by Boulton & Sons, Cheltenham.
Refs: IB 75, 7 Oct 1933, 865

Building: CO. DUBLIN, CABINTEELY, HOUSE
Date: 1933
Nature: Bungalow 'a little off the Dublin - Bray road' completed.
Refs: IB 75, 11 Mar 1933, 200

Building: CO. DUBLIN, FOXROCK, KILL LANE, CHURCH OF OUR LADY OF PERPETUAL SUCCOUR (RC)
Date: 1933-35
Nature: New. By J. J. Robinson for Very Rev. Canon John Ryan.
Refs: Drawings in IAA (on deposit from Robinson, Keefe & Devane), 86/93.15/1-27; IAA, PKS 0325; IB 76, 15 Dec 1934, 1101; 77, 29 Jun 1935, 547(illus.); B ?, 16 Jun 1939, 1120(illus.); biography of JJR i 'Architecture Yesterday and Today', supplement to Irish Times, 21 Jun 1939, 28

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, BLACKHALL PLACE, BETHANY HOUSE HOUSING SCHEME
Date: 1934
Nature: Creation of 14 dwellings for Housing Association of Clongowes Wood Union.
Refs: IB 76, 3 Nov 1934, 951

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, EMMET ROAD (INCHICORE), CHURCH OF ST MICHAEL (RC)
Date: 1934
Nature: Extension.
Refs: IB 76, 20 Oct 1934, 885

Building: CO. KILKENNY, GRAIGUENAMANAGH, CONVENT NATIONAL SCHOOL
Date: 1935
Nature: Alts.
Refs: IB 77, 6 Apr 1935, 292

Building: CO. DUBLIN, SKERRIES, CHURCH OF ST PATRICK (RC)
Date: 1936
Nature: New church for Very Rev. W. Meighan.. Proposed design submitted to Dublin Board of Public Health, May 1935.  FS laid by Dr Byrne, Archbishop of Dublin Aug? 1936. Cost: £27,000. Contractor: J.J. Flynn.
Refs: Fingal County Council, Public Health Housing Collection, no. 379;   IB 78, 5 Sep 1936, 801

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, MERRION ROAD, NO. 020-30 (HOSPITALS' TRUST)
Date: 1939a
Nature: New premises.
Refs: Biography of JJR i 'Architecture Yesterday and Today', supplement to Irish Times, 21 Jun 1939, 28

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, CIRCULAR ROAD SOUTH (RIALTO), CHURCH OF OUR LADY OF THE HOLY ROSARY OF FATIMA (RC)
Date: 1950a
Nature: Temporary church, opened 1950.
Refs: The Church of Our Lady (1950), 9-10 (B of I)

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, WHITEFRIAR STREET, CARMELITE CHURCH OF OUR LADY OF MOUNT CARMEL (RC)
Date: 1951
Nature: Reversal of orientation; new high altar baldacchino, five new chapels in N. aisle.
Refs: A. Corbett, Whitefriars Street Church Guide (B of I);  Christine Casey, The Buildings of Ireland: Dublin (2005), 472.

Building: CO. KERRY, TRALEE, CHURCH OF ST JOHN (RC)
Date: 1951-1958
Nature: Enlargement and renovation. Contractor: Flynn, Millstreet. £35,000.
Refs: IB 92, 9 Dec 1950, 1346; 93, 6 Jan 1951, 36; 100, 1 Jan 1958, 15

Building: CO. DUBLIN, MOUNT MERRION, THE RISE, CHURCH OF ST TERESA (RC)
Date: 1953-1956
Nature: New church. Contractor: John Du Moulin, Ltd. £120,000. New church opened Mar 1956. Fresco in shrine by John Keating. Stations of the Cross by George Collie.
Refs: IB 95, 31 Jan 1953, 121; 98, 10 Mar 1956, 211

Building: CO. GALWAY, GALWAY, ST MARY'S ROAD, ST MARY'S DIOCESAN COLLEGE
Date: 1956-59
Nature: Extensions.
Refs: The MantleVol. 2, No. 2 (1959)

Building: CO. GALWAY, GALWAY, UNIVERSITY ROAD, CATHEDRAL OF OUR LADY & ST NICHOLAS (RC)
Date: 1957p
Nature: New cathedral on site of City Gaol. FS laid, 27 Oct 1957. Contractor: John Sisk. £599,488. Not completed until after Robinson's death.
Refs: Set of contractor's plans, elevations, sections, details, 1957, in IAA, Acc. 2006/45; IB 99, 28 Dec 1957, 1049;  Building a Business: 150 Years of the Sisk Group, ed. by Madeleine Lyons (Dublin:  Associated Editions, 2009), 40(illus.),42(illus.),64-67(illus.); Tom May, Churches of Galway, Kilmacduagh and Kilfenora (Galway, 2000),50-54(illus.). 

Author Title Date Details
Robinson, John Joseph 'The education of the architect' 1922 AAI Green Book (1922), 13?-30. (President's inaugural address to AAI, 25 Oct 1921.)
Robinson, John Joseph 'Irish Architecture in the New Era' 1922 IB 64, 6 May 1922, 313. (Lecture delivered to AAI, 25 Apr 1922.)
Robinson, John Joseph [President's Inaugural Address to RIAI.] 1938 IB 80, 5 Mar 1938, 190, and JRIAI (1938), 13
Robinson, John Joseph 'Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland. Some Incidents in its History' 1939 IB 81, 22 Jul,5 Aug 1939, 628, ?, RIBAJ 46 (1938-39), 861 (?and AJ 99, 29 Jun 1939, 1111). (Address given at inaugural meeting of Architects' Conference and Centenary Celebrations, Dublin, 22 Jun 1939.)