Dictionary of Irish Architects 1720 - 1940

Engineer and inventor, of Dublin and London. James Hardress de Warenne Waller, the tenth and youngest son of George Arthur Waller, of Prior Park, Nenagh, Co. Tipperary, and his wife Sarah, daughter of Guy Atkinson of Cangort, Co. Offaly, was born in Tasmania, where his father had a farm, on 31 July 1884. After attending school in Hobart, he served a two-year pupilage with his eldest brother Richard FitzArthur Waller in Tasmania, from 1902 to 1904. He then came to Ireland, where he studied engineering at Queen's College, Galway After graduating in 1909, he continued his studies at University College, Cork, under Professor CONAL WILLIAM O'DONAL LONG ALEXANDER CONAL WILLIAM O'DONAL LONG ALEXANDER , obtaining the MSc and ME degrees. While he was in Cork he was involved in the design of a ferro-concrete bridge over a branch of the Lee, which passes through the college grounds. He then acted as clerk of works for building the new bridge over the Slaney at Waterford (1911-13).

In 1913 Waller went into partnership in Dublin with ALFRED DOVER DELAP  ALFRED DOVER DELAP as DELAP & DELAP & amp; WALLER WALLER . The partnership lasted until Delap's death in 1943 although Waller left Ireland for some thirteen or fourteen years soon after it had been formed. Following the outbreak of the First World War, he joined the 65th Field Company of the Royal Engineers. He served with distinction in Salonica, and was awarded the DSO in 1916 and OBE in 1918. He also developed the idea of a concrete battleship and persuaded the Admiralty to construct a prototype which was launched shortly before the Armistice. After the war he became a technical adviser to the Admiralty and then worked on a large railway project in northern Spain.

Waller returned to Ireland in the late 1920s full of energy and ideas. In 1928 a street of two-storey flat-roofed houses was built by Dublin Corporation in Rialto, Dublin, using his patented 'Nofrango' system of lightweight concrete construction . At Foynes in about 1937 he used a system of filling hessian bags with concrete to construct a new deep-water jetty. In 1940 the Irish Builder reported that he was 'sponsoring a new type of housing scheme for Dublin, with insistence on a rural environment', noting that he had made a special study of housing design and low-cost building materials.(1) In Dublin, he founded the Mount Street Club for the unemployed with Patrick Somerville Large and Alfred Delap's son HUGH ALEXANDER DELAP HUGH ALEXANDER DELAP .

Following the death of Alfred Delap in 1943, Waller, who was eager to contribute to the British war effort, moved to London, where he designed huts, stores and hangars for the War Office as well as utilitarian structures for private clients. Many of these buildings were built on his patented 'Ctesiphon' system. Inspired by the ancient arch of Ctesiphon in Iraq, which he had seen in the early 1920s, he used the purely compressive structural shape of the inverted catenary arch to minimise the amount of reinforcement needed in constructing the shell of a building. False-work arches were erected at about 3-inch centres, over which a layer of jute fabric was spread. Cement plaster was then applied to the fabric both inside and out to form a corrugated surface. After the outside had been lightly reinforced, additional plaster was applied externally to create a shell about 2½ inches thick.(2) Buildings in Ireland constructed by this method include Locke's bonded warehouse at Kilbeggan, Co. Westmeath.and farm buildings at Grange, near Trim, Co. Meath. A small hut was erected to demonstrate the system in the orchard of St Columban's Missionary College, near Navan.  According to Williams, the economy of the system aroused the hostility of the building trades, particularly the Plasterers' Union.

Eventually, after selling the his 'Ctesiphon' patent to the Seagram Company of Canada in exchange for an annual pension, Waller retired to Devon. He died on 9 February 1968, survived by his wife, Beatrice Frances, née Kinkead (d. 1973), whom he had married on 25 August 1917. He was the father of two daughters.

The Irish Architectural Archive holds an album compiled by Waller which contains photographs of the many buildings constructed according to the 'Ctesiphon' system (Acc. 93/67).

ICEI: elected associate member, 1911; raised to member, 1919; delivers papers, 'A reinforced concrete bridge', 1 March 1911, 'The execution of work in reinforced concrete', 5 February 1913, for which he was awarded the Mullins Silver Medal,(3) and 'Some views on Employment', 1 May 1939; no longer on list of members after 1950.
Inst.CE:

Addresses:(4) 7 Bridge Street, Waterford, 1911;(5)  Bank Chambers, 115 Grafton Street, Dublin, 1920; 16 Albemarle Street, London, W.1., 1922; 2 The Woodlands, Harrow-on-the-Hill, Middlesex, 1924; 'The Ferrocarvie, Santander, Mediterranean Burgos, Spain', 1926-1927; Streamvale, Clonmel, Co. Tipperary, 1929; 115 Grafton Street, Dublin, 1932; 16 Molesworth Street, 1934-39; 29 Merrion Square, 1941->=1942; 167 Victoria Street, London SW1, <=1946->=1950.

See WORKS and BIBLIOGRAPHY BIBLIOGRAPHY ; see also works of DELAP & DELAP & amp; WALLER. WALLER.



References

All information in this entry not otherwise accounted for is from Jeremy Williams, 'An Irish Genius: J.H. De W Waller 1884-1968, Irish Arts Review 12 (1996), 143-146, and Burke's Irish Family Records (1976), 1183. A photograph of Waller is in IB 71, 19 Jan 1929, 50.

(1) IB 82, 3 Feb 1940, 70.
(2) Information about the Ctesiphon building system from Professor Ron Cox.
(3) TICEI 39 (1912-13), 224.
(4) From ICEI membership lists unless otherwise attributed.
(5) 1911 census of Ireland, http://www.census.nationalarchives.ie/ (last visited Nov 2009).


13 work entries listed in chronological order for WALLER, JAMES HARDRESS DE WARENNE


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Building: CO. WATERFORD, WATERFORD, BRIDGE OVER RIVER SUIR
Date: 1910-13
Nature: JHdeWW clerk of works for building new ferro-concrete bridge across Slaney at cost of £5,000. Elected to post, 1 Sep 1910.
Refs: IB 54, 26 Oct 1912, 619; 82, 3 Feb 1940, 70; Edmund Downey, Waterford's Bridges (Waterford News, n.d.), ?

Building: CO. CORK, CORK, COLLEGE ROAD, UNIVERSITY COLLEGE
Date: 1911a
Nature: Ferro-concrete bridge over branch of River Lee in grounds of UCC, .replacing wooden bridge built in early 1880s. College coat of arms modelled in clay by J.J. O'Brien, Cork School of Art, and reproduced in cement.
Refs: J.H. de W. Waller, 'A reinforced concrete bridge', TICEI 37 (1910-11), 81-109

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, LORETO AVENUE (RIALTO), HOUSES
Date: 1928
Nature: Street of 2-storey terraced concrete houses for Dublin Corporation.
Refs: Jeremy Williams, 'An Irish Genius: H.H. De W Waller 1884-1968', Irish Arts Review 12 (1996), 144,146(illus.)

Building: CO. ANTRIM, MASSAREENE, SHED
Date: 1941
Nature: 200-ft long shed built on 'Ctesiphon ' system (demolished c. 1991) for Alistair McGuckian.
Refs: Jeremy Williams, 'An Irish Genius: J.H. De W Waller 1884-1968, Irish Arts Review 12 (1996), 145

Building: CO. CORK, MALLOW, SHORTCASTLE, GARAGE AND SHOWROOM
Date: 1948
Nature: Built using Ctesiphon system for William Thompson (Ford Agent).
Refs: Jeremy Williams, 'An Irish Genius: J.H. De W Waller 1884-1968, Irish Arts Review 12 (1996), 145-6

Building: CO. CORK, MALLOW, CORK ROAD, GARAGE
Date: 1951
Nature: Built with 2 parabolic vaults using Ctesiphon system for William Thompson (Ford agent). (Demolished)
Refs: Jeremy Williams, 'An Irish Genius: J.H. De W Waller 1884-1968, Irish Arts Review 12 (1996), 146

Building: CO. WESTMEATH, KILBEGGAN, LOCKE'S BONDED WAREHOUSE
Date: ?
Nature: Built on the Ctesiphon system.
Refs: Christine Casey & Alistair Rowan, The Buildings of Ireland: North Leinster (1993), 345-6; Jeremy Williams, 'An Irish Genius: H.H. De W Waller 1884-1968', Irish Arts Review 12 (1996), 146

Building: SCOTLAND, PAISLEY, SEAGRAM CHIVAS DISTILLERY
Date: ?
Nature: Last Ctesiphon structure of JHdeWW.
Refs: Jeremy Williams, 'An Irish Genius: J.H. De W Waller 1884-1968, Irish Arts Review 12 (1996), 146

Building: CO. MEATH, GRANGE (TRIM), AGRICULTURAL BUILDINGS
Date: ?
Nature: Built using Ctesiphon system for Denis Baggaley.
Refs: Jeremy Williams, 'An Irish Genius: J.H. De W Waller 1884-1968, Irisih Arts Review 12 (1996), 146

Building: CO. CORK, MALLOW, FARM
Date: ?
Nature: Experimental farm for Ballyclough Cooperative built using Ctesiphon system
Refs: Jeremy Williams, 'An Irish Genius: J.H. De W Waller 1884-1968, Irish Arts Review 12 (1996),

Building: CO. CAVAN, COOTEHILL, GOLF CLUB HOUSE
Date: ?
Nature: Built using Ctesiphon system for J.P. Gannon.
Refs: Jeremy Williams, 'An Irish Genius: J.H. De W Waller 1884-1968, Irish Arts Review 12 (1996), 146

Building: CO. WATERFORD, WATERFORD, WAREHOUSE
Date: ?
Nature: Built according to Ctesiphon system for Clover Meats.
Refs: Jeremy Williams, 'An Irish Genius: J.H. De W Waller 1884-1968, Irish Arts Review 12 (1996), 146

Building: CO. MEATH, DOWDSTOWN (NAVAN), ST COLUMBAN'S CHINESE MISSION COLLEGE
Date: ?
Nature: Small Ctesiphon hut erected in orchard to demonstrate to missionary seminarians potential usefulness of system.
Refs: Information from Father Frank Mullany, St Columban's College, Sep 2010.

Author Title Date Details
Waller, James Hardress De Warenne 'A reinforced concrete bridge' [in grounds of University College, Cork] 1911 TICEI 37 (1910-11), 81-109
Waller, James Hardress De Warenne 'Execution of work in reinforced concrete' 1913 TICEI 39 (1912-13), 83-104
Waller, James Hardress De Warenne 'Wear and tear of roads by motor vehicles' 1929 TICEI 55 (1928-29), 36-102, and IB 7y1, 19 Jan 1929, 50-58
Waller, James Hardress De Warenne 'Some views on employment' 1939 TICEI 65 (1938-39), 255-264
Williams, Jeremy 'An Irish Genius: J.H. De W. Waller, 1884-1968' 1996 Irish Arts Review 12 (1996), 143-146