American Embassy on list of buildings for open architecture weekend

Irish Architecture Foundation announces details of Dublin ‘Open House’ in October

The landmark American embassy building in Ballsbridge, Dublin. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

The landmark American embassy building in Ballsbridge, Dublin. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times


The landmark American embassy in Ballsbridge will be among many notable Dublin buildings open to the public for an annual celebration of design and architecture in the autumn.

Announcing highlights of its Open House Dublin event in October, the Irish Architecture Foundation said the embassy in Dublin 4 was a first-time addition to the list.

Designed by American architect John MacLane Johansen, the distinctive building was constructed by G and T Crampton and formally opened 50 years ago in May 1964.

Johansen inspected Celtic round castles, Martello towers and the Book of Kells before designing the circular building within a moat and with a façade that “turned its back on no one”.

For the weekend of Friday October 17th to Sunday October 19th, “great Dublin buildings of all types and periods” will open their doors to visitors to allow them explore the architecture of the capital. Professionals and architecture enthusiasts will give tours for free, the IAF said.

Other first-time additions to the list include the “show-stopping” Air BnB European headquarters designed by Heneghan Peng, the Airfield House redevelopment by McLoughlin Architects and Solearth and the Convention Centre, designed by Dublin-born Kevin Roche.

Architecture fans will also have a chance to look inside the ‘DLR Lexicon’, the new Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown central library and cultural centre, which is due to open later this year.

The IAF said “up-and-coming” architects also featured in this year’s programme. Blackrock’s Bear Market coffee shop by VAV Architects, the new pavillion at Merrion Cricket Club by TAKA Architects and a renovation of a 1930s Clontarf home by Architectural Farm are all on the list.

The Open House event this year is themed ‘Learning from Buildings’.

It focuses on “buildings that teach us something: about society at a given time in history, about the people involved in making them, and about the character of our city”, the association said.

“This year, we want to show that the processes involved in creating buildings can reveal the desires, tastes, priorities of our society,” said IAF director Nathalie Weadick.

“On a primary level when you participate in Open House you will learn the importance and impact of good design on everyday living.”

Younger enthusiasts can take part in hands-on architecture workshops in galleries and museums over the weekend. There will also be exhibitions, film screenings and walking tours.

The IAF said most building tours were open on a first-come, first-served basis. It said there were no pre-book tours this year and asked that members of the public not call any of the participating buildings.

The full programme will be available at in mid September.