The Built Dublin Project

builtdublin1 - ringsendbusgarage

Dublin 4 has a rich architectural heritage that shows to the eye. A walk from Pearse Street onto Ringsend Road and beyond is like a tour of the city’s past and present all in one, and an eye on the Docklands skyline and the Aviva Stadium maybe gives hints about the future.

Looking to learn more, NewsFour sat down for a talk with Lisa Cassidy, who runs the online architecture blog Built Dublin. Based on the weblog platform Tumblr and also on Twitter, Built Dublin is an archive of Lisa’s exploration of the city, with her eye and her camera lens on the variety of styles that make up Dublin’s urban heritage.

We asked Lisa to tell us a little about herself and what led her to start the Built Dublin project.
“I studied Architecture of course, and am working towards completing my M.A at University College Dublin. I realised a few years ago that I preferred the writing and research side of Architecture. I love using the web, I love walking and taking pictures, and I wanted to practise writing short pieces and swiftly, so I started the Tumblr. Lately, I’ve been concentrating on posting with Twitter where more people see the pictures.”

Does she have any favourite sites around Dublin 4?
“I love D4, it’s so diverse. I like the Pigeon House near the Great South wall, Texaco House in Ballsbridge, and some of the older parts of the docks have real character. Ringsend and Irishtown are full of these small lanes you can wonder around in. I want to explore some of those sometime soon.”

Warming to the topic, Lisa expounds on her feelings: “It’s an interesting mix. I especially love exploring the office blocks from the 1960s and 1980s, around Ballsbridge and Donnybrook. The original focus of Built Dublin was on modern and contemporary architecture so places like that were the main agenda.”

“Very quickly I realised that what was interesting was the mix; the blend of styles of buildings and the contrast between the old and the modern. So, for instance, you have Boland’s [Flour Mill] down the road in the middle of Grand Canal Dock, that’s a very obvious example.”

The journey, on foot or in a vehicle, along Pearse St, through Ringsend and Sandymount, to the Ballsbridge Road and beyond presents a lot of conflicting styles to the untrained eye… does she think that’s accurate?

“Not so much conflicting, just varied. I think it’s a good thing. It’s something people miss about the areas you’re talking about because Dublin 4 doesn’t really have a ‘brand’ identity in peoples’ eyes. It’s associated with Ross O’Carroll-Kelly and the Celtic Tiger years, so people think of Donnybrook or the Embassies but they don’t think of the Docklands connection.”

Lisa gathers all the photos and information for the blog herself. We wanted to know, what is her agenda when she goes out to take pictures? How does she decide the worth of a subject?

builtdublin4 - merrionhallstrandroad“I don’t have any formal criteria. I look for what’s strange or interesting or beautiful. I’m not very research-driven, it’s more about play. I have an affection at the moment for old-fashioned shop fronts like O’Donovan’s on Pearse St. The right light for shots is important, of course, although it’s not vital. We’re getting a bit of late afternoon sun as Spring comes on so that helps.”

Lastly, what does she think of that great one-time controversy, the Aviva Stadium?
She finds this funny. “I have mixed feelings about it. Stadia are always interesting because they combine small interior spaces with one large one. Initially I wasn’t a fan of the Aviva because I don’t like curvy architecture but I went to a match there with my dad and had to admit I was impressed. It’s very well planned from the inside and very sort of sci-fi. So a successs overall.”

See or for Lisa’s Work

By Ruairi Conneely