In this essay I will reclaim from both field-work and the archives, Eamon O Byrne's impacts on Cork City and to explore his contribution to public architecture between 1948 and 1973. I will consider ways in which O Byrne developed agency within a dense context that circumscribed his creative input but also offered opportunities to develop distinctive architecture. What I hope to find is an architecture of becoming - one showing distinctive innovation and development, influenced by some international trends, shaped within the political context and labour movement in the city, attentive to neighbourhoods, and debates in Ireland about modernization. In taking this approach, I will pay particular attention to the conditionality of the city architect – whose autonomy required constant negotiations in a vexed system, crossing between tenants, labour unions, builders and politicians. In the opening section, I will explore some of the key contexts shaping the development of municipal housing after World War II in Cork, and in the sections that follows consider different aspects of O Byrne’s planning and house design during his work in the 1950s and 1960s.