Architect and Director of Douglas Wallace, Hugh Wallace, joined Brendan O'Connor on RTÉ Radio 1 to talk about downsizing and society's attitude to housing.

Reflecting on cultural turning points and evolving housing trends, Brendan O'Connor posed Hugh Wallace the following the question: "Is the big home going to become an unfashionable and unsightly relic of times past?"

"Well, it is unsightly," laughs Hugh. "You had 'bungalow blight' - which is what everybody commented on the bungalows - but, unfortunately, the big house that's being built on at the moment, where people think they're building a mock-Georgian but it's actually Victorian, but it isn't actually - it's nothing."

Describing the trending style as "poorly proportioned", Hugh says the blight of big houses is "just sad" considering how much money is spent and how poorly designed they can be.

Going forward, Wallace believes smaller houses will become in vogue once again - mainly due to the cost of construction, but also because of sustainability factors.

Brendan jumps in to make the point that variety is the spice of life and not all big houses are bad:

"We are not in any way suggesting here today that big houses were grand for everybody who has a house already and that people coming up should be happier with smaller houses."

He also adds that, according to Chief Executive Officer of Housing Agency Ireland, John O'Connor, 55% of household in Ireland are two people or less. So, do we actually need to be building more one bed apartments?

"It's a balance," says Hugh, who insists we're missing a trick when it comes to housing in Ireland.

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Using Oliver Plunkett Street in Cork as an example, he says that there are rows of buildings available across the country, but no one is living on the top floors of them.

"An awful lot of Ireland is pre-1915 in terms of its towns and villages. There's tens of thousands of those buildings siting there idle and they can not be re-used and re-purposed because of regulations."

"You have regulations around building new homes and those regulations are now being shoehorned into existing housing stock and they don't match."

"You have to have a different approach to our existing building stock in this country and, at the moment, we're not capable of doing that," he surmised.

When Brendan points out that that more modernised homes with disabled access are in demand, Hugh agrees but stands firmly by the point that somewhere like Oliver Plunkett Street could potentially provide hundreds of homes.

Especially for some trendy hipsters, notes Brendan.

To listen to the two discuss Irish housing further, listen back to RTÉ Radio 1 here.