Show of Irish architectural skill gives CHQ new life

Thu, May 16, 2013, 01:00

CHQ, the struggling shopping mall in Dublin’s Docklands, is getting a new lease of life as the venue for an exhibition celebrating Ireland’s extraordinarily successful participation in the 13th International Architecture Biennale in Venice last autumn.

On show are works by Grafton Architects, who won Venice’s Silver Lion award for their ideas about “architecture as geography”; Heneghan Peng Architects, whose “oscillating bench” will appeal to children in particular, and O’Donnell + Tuomey Architects.

Sadly, the latter comes without its centrepiece – a soaring timber structure which John Tuomey said was too tall to fit into the former warehouse, once simply known as Stack A. Instead, it is represented by a giant poster – not quite the same as the real thing.

One advantage of the Dublin exhibition, the first in a national tour, is that all three architectural ensembles are in the same place. In Venice, they were in two different locations in the seemingly endless Corderie of the Arsenale and in the Giardini della Biennale.

“This exhibition is a celebration of the success, nationally and internationally, of the achievements of contemporary Irish architecture,” said Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn. “High quality design is a key element in the delivery of a sustainable future.”

With support from the Arts Council, it runs daily at CHQ until June 2nd before moving on to the Galway Arts Festival in July and Cork’s National Sculpture Factory in September.