Meet the Team: Eoin O'Donnell
McKevitt King Architects is made up of a fantastically diverse team of specialists with a vast mix of experience, expertise and enthusiasm. Through this series of posts, we get the opportunity to introduce ourselves, giving you an insight into the inner workings of the office and a chance to get to know the team a little bit better!!
I am going to kick things off! My name is Eoin O’Donnell. I joined the office just under four years ago and since then I have worked on a variety of different projects with many different people!
I am a Drogheda native and I have lived in the town most of my life. Any of you who have read our previous post in relation to ‘O’Donnell & Byrne’ will know how my family came to be in Drogheda and ultimately how construction came to be in my blood! For those of you who haven’t here is a link!
Many, MANY, years ago I attended Realt na Mara BNS in Donacarney – the building is no longer there but the heart is still present in the new premises! I went on to become a pupil of St. Mary’s Diocesan School; a great school with a great group of teachers which set me on my path to where I am today.
Following the wonderful experience that was the Leaving Cert I became a student of architecture at the Dublin School of Architecture, DIT, Bolton Street (now TU Dublin) where after years of hard work, all- nighters’ and an unholy amount of coffee, I obtained my Bachelor of Architecture, graduating in 2015. Fantastic School!
I recall the time leading up to graduation as being quite terrifying. Although the country’s economic situation was starting to recover, work opportunities here in Ireland were few and far between. Any experience to be had was abroad it seemed and many of my colleagues, myself included, opted to go abroad in search of work. My class of forty odd spread themselves across the four corners of the globe, many of them settling in their new locations and are still based in countries such as Australia, America, UK, Japan, Germany today.
I am fortunate enough to have gained experience in New York City, before returning to the green isle. I worked for a large architectural practice in Manhattan who specialised in commercial fit out projects. Among other projects, including residential fit outs, I worked with mainly with Estee Lauder and Jo Malone London on their store fit outs across the US. The level of precision and detailed design required in these specialist projects was fascinating to me and the experience of it all proved invaluable.
I have also spent some time living in Edinburgh, Scotland. Whilst on a quest to find work as an architect in one of the most spectacular cities in the world, I became part of Sodexo’s management team at the Terrace Café in the Royal Botanic Gardens.
Hospitality I hear you wonder? Throughout my architectural education, I worked part time in the centre of Drogheda. In 2005 a new bar & bistro called Brú open its doors and decided to employ a young Eoin to collect glasses and stock the fridges. Ten years later I was still with them part time learning everything I could from bartending to waitering and even the odd stint in the kitchen!
I love the hospitality industry; I find the art, creativity and skill involved to be phenomenal. Brú has given me invaluable experience in customer service, team work and time management which are all skills that translate into the architectural profession. I have made friends for life in those glass walls on the Boyne and I love nothing more than returning and giving them a hand on busy days such as Christmas Eve and Mother’s Day etc.!
In my case it is true to say that all roads lead home! I thoroughly enjoyed my experiences in Edinburgh but as fate would have it another opportunity was to present itself back home in Drogheda at McKevitt King Architects (then McKevitt Architects). Working remotely in the current COVID-19 restrictions reminds me of my first interactions with James as I was living abroad and all of our correspondence was through phone and email!
I returned home almost immediately in late 2016 and have been here ever since! I could not be happier to be back working in the locality! In my final years in Bolton Street, it was never an option to work in Ireland, never mind working in my home town! My family are all based in Drogheda so it is wonderful to be back home.
My role within the office is primarily within the design stages of a project, however each day can require any one of us to work in different areas! My area of speciality would be around bringing a project from brief to presentation and then developing it into a working design. This is my passion. Quite simply creating space with light is what I love doing. That doesn’t necessarily mean big and expensive space. As I mentioned before, I am a man fascinated by precision and detail and I sometimes find that even the smallest of projects such as an extension can be the most exciting.
I find office life on the North Road to be a great working environment. We all work extremely well both independently and as a unit as each day requires. On any given day one can witness new and exciting work generated at all stages of development by the entire team. Although we are often extremely busy there is always time for birthday cakes on appropriate occasions and Rita’s sing along!
Architecture is an amazing profession. An architect’s role changes and evolves overtime as they grow and I have definitely grown over my time at McKevitt King and don’t intend stopping anytime soon! As one of the younger members of the team, I have learned so much from Turlough, James, Adrian and the teams’ vast experience and I constantly look forward to the next challenge and lessons tomorrow will bring!
McKevitt King Architects is very much a teaching practice and Turlough, James and Adrian encourage continual professional development as much as possible. Personally, I am currently working through my Diploma in Professional Practice at TU Dublin under their continued guidance.
Each year, the office welcomes huge numbers of current college students on work experience. They also run a fantastic Transition Year Work Experience program for the local schools in the area which I feel really gives a good insight into the profession to any TY students who have an interest in pursuing the profession. I have become heavily involved with the program in recent years and thoroughly enjoy working with the variety of students who engage with the process!
Aside from working in the office and the odd guest appearance in Brú, you might also spot me working for my Dad’s business Martin O’Donnell Property Maintenance. Dad does everything from complete property refurbs to his most recent bespoke project – a COVID-19 protective screen in Maher’s Total Health Chemist in West St. I love helping him out when I can. Dad has an unwavering attention to detail and work ethic that I like to think we (myself and my two brothers) inherited. Every time I head out on a job with him in my spare time, I learn something new!
It’s not all about work though! I have a passion and a fascination for cars and car design. My car gets a lot of attention! Downtime with family and friends is also an extremely important part of my world. I love to keep fit and can often be found out on Laytown beach or Bellewstown Racetrack for a good long walk or a run.