Happy 30th Birthday MCA! 03 December 2018

Celebrating its thirtieth year as one of Dublin's leading practices, MCA founder Michael Collins and partners reflect on its success.

Thirty years in the architecture game and MCA are showing no signs of fatigue. Established in 1988 by Michael Collins with a team of five people, the practice began specializing mainly in healthcare and commercial projects. “The journey’s been remarkable,” says founder Michael, “when I see the marvellous range of projects the practice is doing today, it’s very different from its early days.” Now retired, Michael still takes an avid interest in projects and the practice’s development. ‘I could not be prouder”, he says.

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Founder Michael Collins with the MCA partners at our inhouse celebration

Over the past three decades MCA has amassed a diverse client portfolio, including conservation work, hotels, golf clubs, tourism projects, large scale retail, call centres, data centres, healthcare and research buildings and stud farms. Some of their high-profile clients include global tech giants Facebook and Twitter and healthcare projects for the HSE, including the national plan for radiotherapy oncology feature significantly. Michael’s enduring passion for technical innovation and excellence has also left a distinct thumbprint on MCA’s legacy, including the striking Liffey quayside CHQ building, the Department of Education on Dublin’s Malborough Street and the Islamic Cultural Centre in Clonskeagh.

A growing practice

Under the leadership of long-time partners Thomas McNamara and Brian Murphy the practice continues to grow and in 2013 partner Gerry Murphy joined the MCA family. Having previously completed some award-winning projects, including UCD’s Student Centre, Gerry’s design and working approach married perfectly with MCA’s.

“We work collaboratively”, says Gerry, “MCA is about bespoke design. There’s an energy and agility to the way we work because we have a highly experienced and talented workforce. When clients meet us, they meet the team they will be working with directly on a project for the next few months or years. It’s a personal approach; building client relationships and understanding is key to our projects’ success.”

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Michael shares some fond memories from over the years

MCA has proven itself an enduring practice, navigating some tricky economic terrain with recessions and fluctuations in the Irish construction industry over the years. “Balancing talent retention with the current project demand takes a certain versatility,” says partner Brian Murphy, “we have some really innovative designers and technicians in-house. Ensuring we are developing the business while growing the team and the integrity of our design approach requires market responsiveness and a certain amount of intuition.”

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MCA Partners (left to right): Tom, Gerry and Brian 

Thirty years on MCA has grown into one of Dublin’s most reputable and professional architectural practices, creating design that defines and enriches people’s experience of the built environment. Across Ireland some of their latest projects are taking form, including the Moxy Hotel on historical Sackville Street, UCD’s Lyon’s Farm in Kildare and many more.

So, what about the future? Tom McNamara is reflective “We always focus on our clients and on realising their aspirations. Economic conditions change but success lies in our client’s positive response to our service.”

In a sector renowned for fluctuation, MCA has responded with an instinctive market awareness and design approach assuring its lasting accomplishments. As a practice, this natural agility and flair for innovative solutions is set to deliver exciting design projects and assure MCA’s continued success well into the future.