Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Here's the Heads Up #26: Cork Edition

CIT Library and IT Building by de Blacam and Meagher, part of Open House Cork

Wait, what?!

So for the first time ever, I Like Local is producing a Cork edition of Here's the Heads Up, because for the first time ever, Cork hosts Open House, one of the most enjoyable and accessible architecture festivals in the world. From 10 to 12 April over 30 buildings open their doors for public architectural tours, along with an OH Plus programme of walks, talks and activities. All of it is free and all of it looks great, but here are a few I Like Local highlights...

Cork County Hall
Saturday, 10am-5pm
Designed by Patrick L. McSweeney of Cork County Architects and built in 1968, Cork County Hall toppled Dublin's Liberty Hall from its standing as Ireland's tallest building at a dizzying 17 storeys. A building large enough at the time to combine all of the county's civic and administrative services, it is proof that the Dublin/Cork rivalry exists in architecture as well as other facets of life.

CIT Library and IT Building
Saturday, 10am-5pm
Pictured above, one of a number of buildings by de Blacam and Meagher Architects for Cork Institute of Technology (and maybe the most accomplished), the CIT Library marries an imposing curved brick exterior with warm, inviting interiors. As someone spending a lot of time in libraries at the moment, this one definitely looks like a place to get some reading done in...

Church of Christ the King
Saturday, 11am-4pm
A striking 1920s church (pictured below), totally radical for its time and place, Cork's Church of Christ the King is a key example of early Irish modernism. It's also a technological feat as one of the first uses of reinforced concrete on such a scale in Ireland with one of the largest suspended ceilings in Europe. Not bad for a young architect (Barry Byrne) in 1927.

Church of Christ the King by Barry Byrne, part of Open House Cork

Dundanion Court
Saturday, 11am-1pm, Sunday, 1-5pm
More 20th century innovation here. Dundanion Court is a housing complex designed by Neil Hegarty in a collaborative manner from planning stage to build in 1968. Dundanion Court consists of super modern townhouses set around a courtyard fitted with quality materials using high levels of craftsmanship (Carrara marble worktops, anyone?!)

City Centre Docklands Walking Tour
Sunday, 10am and 2pm
Join Cork City Conservation Officer Pat Ruane for a walking tour of Cork's industrial history, taking in the warehouses, silos and railway infrastructure that helped make Cork the city it is.

Narrow House by Solene Vermont, part of Open House Cork

Narrow House
Sunday 1-5pm
Picured above and originally built in the 18th century, this is considered the narrowest house in Cork, and renovations by architect Solene Vermont began in 2010 to maximise space (no mean feat when the house is 2.6 metres at its widest), to best use what original features remained after years of disrepair, and to make the most of the double aspect of the house. It sounds like a fascinating project but, as you might imagine in a small space, capacity is really limited, so you might expect a wait before entering if you do go along...

There are heaps of other things to see and do over OHCork weekend, so get planning. If you'd like to help out, the team are looking for volunteers, and you should also check out the OHCork photography competition if you're going to be snapping your way round the festival (and who isn't?!). It's a shame I won't be there for it, but I'm looking forward to seeing updates all weekend on Twitter and Instagram: it'll be the next best thing :)

Images via Open House Cork