Joseph Vincent Downes (1891-1967) was one of the first graduates of architecture at UCD. Graduating in 1920, he studied under Professor W.A. Scott.
After graduating he worked at the office of Sir Herbert Baker in London and at the office of Robert Atkinson in Dublin after which he became a partner in the firm of McDonnell and Dixon. In 1935 he started his own practice and would become "one of the most important and influential propagandists for the modern movement in ireland of the 'twenties and 'thirties".
Downes served as Professor of Architecture at University College Dublin from 1943 until he resigned in 1950 and returned to practice. He established a remarkable library of architectural slides which are now kept at the library of the UCD School of Architecture.
His influence on the school is uncertain, however it is significant that under his direction "modern architecture was finally accepted in the school after the long reign of the Classicist Butler".