Skip to main content

In this latest news article, we’re catching up with AWL’s Design Manager, Olan Crowley.

Olan provides a look ahead for the company in 2023 and the construction and architectural market in general, so keep reading to discover more!

Olan – as Design Manager, you’ve been instrumental in the execution of many residential and commercial projects whose designs not only have created a global reach for AWL but have garnered two national design awards.

Can you tell us how you first got started in architecture and where has it taken you today?

It was all down to my parents, and in particular, my late father, Frank Crowley, who pointed up to the Barbican Centre in London when I was seven and said he did the drawings for the residential tower. He then started his own company in 1982 – ‘Frank Crowley & Associates’ (where I did my Summer office boy duties… ammonia printing) – which became ‘Frank Crowley & Partners’ after I joined in 1998. I joined the established team that included the technical supremo Mark Blake (constantly trying to make my designs work)! Those initial days working with my father were my happiest professionally.

Could you tell us a bit about your favourite project that the AWL team has worked on?

There have been quite a few that I’ve enjoyed. I really enjoyed the planning on the Fishery School in Baltimore West Cork, which was a challenge but on a great site location off the coast of West Cork. We were granted the planning in 2019 and hope to push on with the project again shortly.

My old school, Marian College, got me involved in their dream for a New Sports hall in 2013 with Mr Paul Meany, my former principal. Meetings began with him calling me into his office one morning (cue the flashbacks from when I was 15 and had to answer for something), but I ended up being commissioned and working on an important project for my old school. It was a great team and a fantastic client, so that was a special project for me.

I’m also delighted to have been involved in four stages of the Gresham Hotel redevelopment starting in 2012 and now, 11 years later, still assisting with a great team in Riu Resorts.

I’d like to thank the clients who have been loyal to us over the years and have invited us back to tackle new projects year after year.

What advice would you give someone about to embark on a refurbishment or new build project?

Get an architect no matter how small a project…we ALWAYS add value.

Are there any architectural trends emerging that we can expect to see in 2023?

We are looking at creating a staff-less hotel and projecting involving new technologies, but 2023 will see us completing several Methods of Modern Construction (MMC) projects with some exciting companies, which will be interesting.

I’m really excited about the new opportunities opening in our Modular Stadia company, working closely with SPS Technology on projects worldwide.

How does AWL utilise efficient building material to support its eco-friendly practice?

We utilise renewable and sustainable elements within our designs and aim to provide clients with cost-effective solutions. We are pushing forward on several ‘Green’ building systems, which is exciting. Our sports and stadia modular work also follow the same principle in minimising the impact on the environment with an appropriate built form that ensures the performance of the shell is as highly rated as possible. The current energy crisis is bringing this design element to the forefront of our deliverables.

And lastly, what can we expect to see from the AWL team in 2023?

We have many exciting projects underway, including a hotel and gallery, residential refurbs, housing and apartment developments, and retail/mixed-use developments. In addition, we are currently onsite at three listed structures helping to conserve and protect the heritage of the buildings for future generations to enjoy.

Before Christmas, we also assisted a National Sporting organisation with conceptual modelling on small-sided stadia, so we are excited about the opportunities arriving over various projects in the coming 12 months.

Finally, we are looking at “blue sky” projects in Spain and Trinidad…which may have to be surveyed by me 4-5 times this coming Summer…

Build your future today with Architects Workshop Ltd. Get in touch with Olan today by enquiring through our contact page!


Leave a Reply