Open House at Poolbeg

The famous power station is among the many buildings open to the public in October

poolbegHow much value do you place on the buildings that make up your city? Do you see them as merely bricks and mortar, some of which have been standing for so long that perhaps people don’t notice them as anything more than just being there for as long as they can remember?

It happens, people walk around with their heads down and fail to fully take in some of the expert craftsmanship that has gone into making Dublin look the way it does. That’s why the Irish Architecture Foundation have spent seven years building up their Open House Dublin programme, to bring people closer to the buildings that make up Dublin and the stories that lie within them.

“This year is a celebration of the success of Open House and what it is,” Director of IAF Nathalie Weadick told NewsFour.

“After seven years doing this and having started with only a handful of events, we are now up to over one hundred and thirty events this year. It’s really about exploring the vitality of the city through its architecture and the people who relate to it, because it is about the people who come out into the street and engage with their built environment and explore the diversity of the architecture in Dublin, from the Georgian period right up to the most contemporary house.”

With seven years behind it, Open House Dublin has managed to bring people closer to the buildings around them by organising free events where the public can gain access and take tours of buildings that would otherwise be off limits. Having started with the theme of Neighbourhoods in 2006, Open House Dublin have implemented a new theme every year and this year’s theme will be Architecture Alive.

“What we’re doing this year is exploring the life cycle of a building. These days there’s not a lot of building going on, so a lot of people are re-using and re-thinking older buildings so we’re looking at the re-use of spaces like the National Concert Hall which used to be part of UCD. So, where it was once of educational use it’s now of cultural use. We want people to realise that it’s not just about the building and that architecture is about your life and my life.”

Having clocked up 23,000 visits over the course of a weekend last year, the IAF are hoping this year’s list of events will attract even more people to come along to whichever of the free events take their fancy.

“The stories behind some buildings are so incredible and when we do a lot of these tours and events we always get people saying ‘I never knew that’ and that’s a major part of what we try to do. It’s for everyone and anyone who’s interested in seeing parts of Dublin they would never get to see otherwise.

Another local Open House venue is Residence de France on Ailesbury road

Another local Open House venue is Residence de France on Ailesbury road

“Some of the highlights this year are Liberty Hall which could become a lost icon if SIPTU get their way, the Pigeon House Hotel, Poolbeg Chimneys and Donnybrook Bus Station, which will be fantastic as its history is so rich and we recently found out that it used to host boxing matches in the fifties.

“We have also been given access to the Residence de France on Ailesbury Road where the French Ambassador lives and she has been great in letting us use her home. We’re also doing two tours of Dublin Zoo because we decided that with this year’s theme we wouldn’t just concentrate on humans.
“The Office of Public Works are responsible for the buildings there and when you think about what goes into building these structures and how you have to take into account how these animals live, it’s very interesting.

“We will have a boat tour down by Killiney where people can see the amazing buildings there and also people will get the chance to see the fantastic mosaics in the canteen at Busáras and that’s something you don’t often get the chance to do so we’re very excited.”

Open House Dublin takes place from Friday Oct 5th to Sunday Oct 7th. Details can be found at: