We believe that communities of all sizes should have the right, and the ability, to be instigators and co-creators of secure, affordable homes, and that this can benefit individuals, communities and even entire cities. We want people in Ireland to realise this potential.


SOA stands for Self-Organised Architecture. Established in 2018, SOA is an independent not-for-profit collaborative formed to promote the possibilities for participatory, non-speculative, affordable and democratic housing creation in Ireland.

Our focus is on quality and social cohesion in the built environment, and we work with groups around the country who are taking a community-led approach to create homes. We also work with government agencies and local authorities to develop CLH policy and advance pilot projects.

Tom O’Donnell

Tom is a founding director at SOA. He studied architecture at UCD and Cambridge University and has extensive experience in architectural practice in the public and private sectors. In 2020-21 he co-authored Roadmapping a Viable Community-Led Housing Sector for Ireland. He is based in Ireland and Germany.

Padraig Flynn

Padraig is a founding director at SOA. He studied architecture at UCD and currently works in part-time practice with LiD Architecture. As chair and secretary of SOA, he has co-coordinated the direction of the company since its foundation. In 2020-21 he co-authored Roadmapping a Viable Community-Led Housing Sector for Ireland.

Colin McDonnell

Colin is a founding director at SOA. He studied architecture at UCD and holds a Conservation Grade III Accreditation. Colin has co-designed and led a range of SOA initiatives, most recently co-directing SOA’s contribution to the EU Interreg Sustainable Housing for Inclusive and Cohesive Cities north-west European partnership.

Jim Roche

Jim is an architect and Senior Lecturer at the Dublin School of Architecture at TU Dublin. He has extensive experience in the design of public housing, and as founding director of SOA has provided input and oversight to all of our work to date. He has also acted in a fundraising capacity for a range of major SOA initiatives.

Isoilde Dillon

Isoilde is a retired architect and former RIAI Fellow and Chair of the RIAI’s Universal Design Task Force. Retired as Senior Architectural Adviser at the Housing Agency in 2020, she joined the SOA board as an interim director in early 2021, and was appointed as Non-Executive director in early 2022.

Mark Gill

Mark is an urban designer with an economics background who works in masterplanning and mobility. He received his architectural education in Ireland and Denmark and now works in London for an engineering consultancy. He is passionate about creating safer, greener and more attractive neighbourhoods for people to live and play in.

“Clann Credo sees Community-Led Housing as a model offering huge potential for a bottom-up approach to local housing solutions in line with our ethos. SOA’s work in raising awareness about this model and advocating for a supportive framework is essential to the future success of such projects.”

- Roisin Mulligan, CLANN CREDO

“SOA have been an invaluable source of information and expertise on housing matters for ARTHOUSE Cooperative. Their workshops and seminars have given us useful information and opportunities to network with housing experts and self organised housing groups like ourselves. Most of all, the support we received from SOA has helped us keep going despite setbacks and blockages along the way.”

- Anne Fitzgerald, ARTHOUSE Cooperative

“Well done to the SOA team for the content and professionalism of the conference. Having attended community-led housing events in England for the last few years, I can say you’ve achieved an extraordinary amount in a short space of time and its fantastic. It’s also really important for the authorities to see the level of professionalism in this approach.”

- Zohra Chibeb, CAMDEN COUNCIL, London

“SOA’s 2019 conference was a big milestone for our group, there we first shared our dream with the wider community. Since then, SOA’s continued advice has been instrumental in developing essential contacts and strategies to pursue that dream. We’re so thankful for their invaluable support and look forward to further collaboration.”

- Michael Reidy, COMMON GROUND

“The sense that a participative method can work was itself evidenced in the inclusive model adopted by SOA. The event was a housing forum that really felt like it was tackling issues around affordability, collective organisation, and design in exciting yet internationally tried and tested ways.”

- Dominic Stevens, review in Architecture Ireland

“Common Ground CLH has gained huge support from the ground-breaking work done by SOA over the past couple of years. Since first connecting with SOA we have found them to be generous with their advice, information and encouragement and have built a solid relationship with them which we feel serves to further establish a strong movement in community-led housing in Ireland.”




According to World Habitat, Community-Led Housing is about “communities playing a leading and lasting role in solving local housing problems, creating genuinely affordable homes and strong communities in ways that are difficult to achieve through mainstream housing.”

Community-Led Housing is an umbrella term, encompassing a wide range of approaches, including cooperative housing, cohousing, Community Land Trusts (CLTs), and self-help housing. Although no two Community-Led Housing projects are the same, they all share a common goal of meeting specific local housing needs via collaboration, empowerment and mutual support.

Community-Led Housing (CLH) is premised on the conviction that a house is not just a building, or an asset, it is a home: a place to live.