Saturday, 22 September 2012

Open House Dublin 2012

(Image of Pearse St. shopfront via Built Dublin)

Well, Open (House) Season is upon us again! The programme for Open House Dublin, Ireland's biggest architecture festival presented annually by the Irish Architecture Foundation has been launched as part of a worldwide family of events that is now bigger than ever. Here in Ireland Dublin is being joined once again by Open House Galway and for the first time Open House Limerick while the most recent international addition to the OHWorldwide family is none other than Lisbon! Open House Dublin returns for its seventh edition from 5 to 7 October. This year sees almost 130 events occur over three days all over Dublin city and county, giving you the chance to explore architecture in all its dimensions. OHD is always a massively popular event, with a recorded 23,000 attendances in 2011. While there are a whole host of new buildings and tours included in this year's programme, some fantastic highlights return from previous years, such as Number 31, the Criminal Courts of Justice and heaps more. Take a look below at some of my highlights for 2012.

Built Dublin tours 
Begun earlier this year, the Built Dublin blog is 'a love letter to architecture and public space in Dublin'. The website is a fantastic exploration of all that makes Dublin beautiful, from significant buildings to tiny details. The founder and writer of Built Dublin, Lisa Cassidy, leads two tours during OHD weekend exploring those big and small elements that make Dublin what it is. Expect to see a whole new side of the city you think you already know.

Dublin Zoo tours 
For the first time OHD takes a look at designed spaces for a very particular set of the city's inhabitants - our zoo animals! While one tour takes a look at habitats and horticulture, another looks at the architecture of the zoo, including the newly-built elephant house. As there's only a small amount of space on each tour, enter your email address into a lottery before 12noon on 28 September to win a space for yourself and a friend on either tour here.

Kilbarrack Fire Station
It all started when firefighter Neil McCabe thought that a few small changes in the way the staff at Kilbarrack Fire Station managed waste could be a good thing for the station. First it was recycling batteries; since then tackling how much waste the station produced, growing food, harvesting rainwater, recycling cooking oils to create a 30% Blend Biodiesel for the fire engines and many more changes have taken place to make Kilbarrack Europe's first carbon-neutral fire station. Dublin City Council have made a great flyer outlining all that's being doing in Kilbarrack which you can download here. Book yourself onto one of two tours on the morning of Saturday 6 October over on (booking opens at 10am on Monday 24 September and spaces go fast!).

St. Fintan's Church, Sutton
At a symposium in 2011 I heard Peter Carroll speak about the work of fellow Limerick architect Andy Devane and was struck by the careful and considered way in which Devane designed spaces. On Saturday 6 October Peter and Devane's relative Susan Devane will lead tours of St. Fintan's Church in Sutton, designed in 1973 (pictured above). A great opportunity to learn about one of Ireland's best, but often unsung, mid-century architects.

The Orchard Day/Respite Centre
Designed in 2008 by Niall McLaughlin Architects, the Orchard centre (pictured below) has received a number of awards and commendations for its thoughtful and contemporary design. Designed for the Alzheimer's Society of Ireland, The Orchard is a respite centre for those living with Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia. As such, very careful consideration is giving to creating spaces which enable mobility and social interaction. The building is arranged around a series of social spaces, serene gardens and courtyards through which patients may wander. A number of wandering paths naturally loop back on themselves, always bringing a person back to where they started. Design for dementia is something I've mentioned here before, and this is a great opportunity to see how design can positively impact on people's wellbeing.

(Images of St. Fintan's Church and The Orchard via Open House Dublin)

Open House Dublin is presented by the Irish Architecture Foundation and runs from 5 - 7 October 2012. More information can be found on Open House Galway runs from 11 - 15 October and Open House Limerick from 19 - 21 October. Lisboa Open House runs on 6 and 7 October, read the I Like Local highlights from the Lisboa OH programme next week.