Sunday, 19 September 2010

Pick of the Pre-Books

When not writing I Like Local* (which you may have noticed is most of the time), I work for the Irish Architecture Foundation, and it's my job to coordinate Open House Dublin. OHD is Ireland's biggest architecture festival, and is happening, for the fifth time, from 7 - 10 October. I wont go on about it too much, cos there's a whole website for that, but I thought I should take the opportunity to pick my top ten pre-book tours (remember only a small proportion of the programme needs pre-booking though...) before the website opens for booking tomorrow (Monday) at 10am!

Inchicore Railway Works
It's not often you'll get a tour of Iarnrod Eireann's expansive Railway Works south of the city, but it's definitely worth taking the opportunity when you can, on Friday 8 October. The site has been in use since the 1800s, and is one of the world's few original maintenance facilities still in use today.

The Central Bank of Ireland, Dame Street
You may not like the Irish banking system, and you may not like the work of architect Sam Stephenson, but you can't deny the fact that the Central Bank of Ireland is one of Dublin's most iconic buildings. With every floor built at ground level - all fittings in place - and then hoisted upwards, this tour on Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 October is part of several in the programme that puts a spotlight on Stephenson's legacy on the city.

The Old Terminal Building, Dublin Airport
This was on my OHD wishlist last year too, but alas I still haven't got to Desmond Fitzgerald's Old Terminal Building (apart from when waiting for my recent flight to Glasgow, but that's not really the full experience). Maybe this year will be different, and I'll make it on Saturday 9 October?!

Big, Small, Nano - Tours of CRANN, Trinity College Dublin
And now for something completely different. The theme of this year's festival is Big, Small, Global, exploring architecture across all scales, and questioning the impact of architecture at home, abroad, on the city and on ourselves. Playing on this theme is Big, Small, Nano - a tour of CRANN, Trinity's nano research centre on Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 October. In CRANN they work on a scale of less than 100 nanometres, and apparently a human hair is more than 5000 times as wide as that. Eye strain anyone?!

The Irish Times Open Debate: Does Size Matter?
Further exploring the theme, the IAF and the Irish Times host a debate in Aviva Stadium on Thursday 7 October asking "Does Size Matter?" Chaired by John Bowman and featuring a panel of architects, writers and more, it's bound to be an interesting discussion in a pretty apt environment.

Sheds vs Icons Walking Tour
Architect and urban designer Alan Mee sets off from the plaza in front of the Central Bank to take you on a walk of the city on Saturday 9 October, exploring why it is we value some buildings and discard others, and how these assessments change over time.

Pyjama Girls screening at NCAD, Thomas Street
If you missed it during its recent run in the IFI, or if you caught it and enjoyed it so much you'd like to see it again, head to NCAD on Friday 8 October for a screening (followed by a discussion with the director, Maya Derrington) of the documentary that looks into the phenomenon of pyjamas as outdoor clothes in inner city Dublin.

The Plastic House, East Wall
What would Open House Dublin be without houses?! Recently featured here, the Plastic House is open to the public again for tours with the architects, Architecture Republic, on Sunday 10 October.

House in Sandymount
By CAST architecture, this is "the best extension never built" - the architects have managed to find lost space and maximise the room in the house without adding anything to the original structure. Visit it on Saturday 9 October.

House on Lower Grangegorman
I've waxed lyrical about ODOS architects before, so no need to do it again. Just go visit this house (below) on Saturday 9 October if you can, it looks deadly.