Open House Dublin: Five things to see at the architecture festival

Your annual chance to nose around private homes and off-limits buildings, free of charge

Open House Dublin, the annual free-to-attend architecture festival, is a chance to nose about private homes and commercial buildings not normally open to the public. The festival runs from Friday, October 11th, to Sunday, October 13th, and offers you a look inside or outside all sorts of exciting properties.

1. The ambassador's house 
Go behind the scenes at the Belgian ambassador's residence on Ailesbury Road, where the Belgian ambassador to Ireland, Pierre-Emmanuel De Bauw, will be personally welcoming the public. This event takes place on Saturday, October 12th, from 11am to 5pm and is on a first-come, first-served basis.

2. The big debate
Also scheduled is a big debate, an opportunity for we-the-public to pose queries to a panel that includes MEP and cycle advocate Ciarán Cuffe, Chicago-based Irish architect Clare Lyster and Jennifer Jennings, co-director of Thisispopbaby, on the question of what sort of a city we want to live in. This is being held in the newly opened Trinity Business School, designed by Scott Tallon Walker Architects, on Friday, October 11th, from 6.30pm to 8pm.

3. The waste facility
Perennially popular places to visit include Busáras, by Michael Scott, the Central Courts of Justice, by Henry J Lyons (for most of us we hope it will be our only time there), and the Covanta Dublin waste-to-energy facility on Pigeon House Road, by Friis & Moltke, where you can see its great claw picking up waste and head up to the control room.


4. The Brexit tour
"These offer a glimpse behind the doors of buildings you don't normally have access to," says Karen Lee Walpole, Open House Dublin manager. Top of this year's list is the timely Dublin Port Brexit bus tour that includes the new Brexit zone, taking place on the Saturday, from 3pm to 4pm.

5. Extensions and refurbs
There's a slew of really good residential house projects, including smart site-specific extensions like 13 Anglesea Road by Robert Bourke Architects, and an imaginatively extended house in Marino by Ryan W Kennihan Architects, as well as smart apartment refurbishments, including Apartment 25 Gallery Quay by Eamon Peregrine, and Blarney Park, a reimagined 1948 ex-council house in Kimmage with a bright contemporary layout.

Expect to queue, which may not suit parents of small toddlers. However, for kids from the ages of about three upwards the event's junior programme includes family tours of the National Gallery, while for eye-rolling moody teens there's a comic strip workshop at the Chester Beatty Library.