Today kicks off Open House Dublin 2017, the annual extravaganza exploring all things architectural.
From the Airbnb HQ, to the atmospheric Victorian Fruit and Veg Markets in Smithfield, via civic and social buildings, follies, theatres, apartments, houses both great and small, historic and brand spanking new, it's a brilliant weekend. A weekend where we can all satisfy our curiosity about what goes on inside some of the city's most intriguing walls.
So what exactly is Open House Dublin? Set up in 2006 by the excellent Irish Architecture Foundation, the event does exactly what it says on the tin, by encouraging the owners and custodians of some of Dublin's iconic, quirky, historic or just plain fascinating buildings to open their doors. Add expert tour guides, plus the fact that it's all free, and you can see why it's such a brilliant event.
When is it on? Open House Dublin runs from today, Friday, until Sunday October 15th. Not all houses and venues are open every day, so double check the website openhousedublin.com before setting out.
Who can go? Absolutely everyone and anyone. Some venues are ticketed by lottery. That’s closed by now, so be sure to get your oar in early next year. Not to worry, there’s still lots to see and do, and to get you started, we have a list of our top 10 (below). This is the biggest Open House ever, and as there were more than 31,000 building visits last year, that’s really saying something.
Any other ways to get involved? Open House always needs plenty of volunteers to keep everything on the move, and it's not too late to offer your services. Email Sophie at email@example.com to join in. While everything is free, you can still contribute as Open House Dublin is collaborating with the Peter McVerry Trust supporting homelessness services. Text to donate by texting OHD to 50300. Full details are on the website, but essentially your text will cost €4, of which a minimum of €3.25 goes to charity (the rest gets eaten up by VAT).
What else do I need to know? You can pick up handy maps at public libraries and at the Irish Architecture Foundation HQ at 15 Bachelors Walk. There's a comprehensive website (openhousedublin.com) where you'll also find details of the Junior programme, from toddlers to teenagers, as well as how to get involved in, and maybe win the Photo Competition by Instagramming your best pictures of the weekend. Also check out the Open House Plus section for walking tours, cycle tours, walks and more.
There are more than 80 buildings you can visit on a first come first served basis. Here’s our top 10 suggestions:
The Container House shows what ingenuity and grit can do when it comes to solving your own housing problems. Designed by LiD architects for, and with Gordon and Maggie Kelley, seven shipping containers are stacked to make a fascinating and fun family home. Four more are due to be added to create a third floor in the future. Get in on the ground floor to see something very special. Saturday only at 23 Fitzwilliam Street, Dublin 4
Diagonal Addition, Howth Road. No, it's not Diagonally from Harry Potter, but new to the programme this year is the Shane Cotter designed extension to Niamh Cullen and Gary Mahon's home in Raheny. One of the joys of Open House is getting inspiration for your own future projects. Saturday only at 512 Howth Road, Dublin 5
LEECH CONSERVATORY ROOM
Would-be extenders should also check out a two-up, two-down in Killester, north Dublin with a modest but gorgeous extension by David Leech: the 410sq ft "conservatory room". Built with off-the-shelf building materials it has exposed beams painted green and pink where the roof glazing is, creating the illusion of depth. Find it at 22 St Brigid's Road, Killester, Dublin 5. On view Saturday 2pm to 5pm.
Nellie's Flat at the Iveagh Trust is always a firm favourite. Expect crowds, but it's a fascinating glimpse into past lives. Nellie Molloy's flat once rented for five shillings and sixpence a week. Six children were raised here and it was made into a museum in 2002. Viewing on Saturday and Sunday, 3B Iveagh Trust, Patrick Street, Dublin 8
Busáras might not seem so evocative at first, but when it was initially designed, Michael Scott’s modernist building was meant to be the last word in the romance of travel. Did you know the top floor was to have been a nightclub and that there’s a, now disused, hidden theatre in the basement? Saturday and Sunday. Store Street, Dublin 1
For Airbnb we had to include one of the big Silicone Docks Stops. And as Airbnb enable you to sleep in other people’s houses, we thought it was only fair you should get a chance to see what goes on inside their walls. The former warehouse was once a cold storage space, then a bicycle factory. Derelict until 2016, it was restored by RKD, with a fit out by Heneghan Peng. Expect fun and surprises. Saturday and Sunday, 8 Hanover Quay, Dublin 2
The Clancy Quay Apartments show how lovely old buildings can be with a wave of an architect’s wand to turn them into atmospheric homes. These apartments, designed by O’Mahony Pike, were once artillery stores, stables and soldier’s quarters (the soldiers slept above their horses in an arrangement designed for extra horsey warmth for the men). There was even a hospital on site. The whole scheme is nearing completion, so you can get a first goo of the total vision on Saturday only. South Circular Road, Islandbridge, Dublin 8
Belvedere House. James Joyce went to school here, as did Harry Clarke and Kevin Barry. It's also said to be haunted, so there's lots to soak up. Now Belvedere College, it was once the home of the Earls of Belvedere, so expect some swanky interiors alongside the schoolrooms. Saturday and Sunday, 6 Great Denmark Street, Dublin 1
Mourne Road Rapid Delivery Housing has been muttered about and mooted as a response to the housing crisis and now you can see it for yourselves. There are 29 two-storey, three- and four-bedroom houses under construction as part of Dublin City Council's plan. Check out these by Van Dijk Architects on Saturday only. Please note over 18s only, no photography allowed. Knocknarea junction to Curlew Road, Drimnagh, Dublin 12
Laurelmere Cottage was first built in 1790, but revamped in the 1870s for the, then ultra hip, arts and crafts style. Left unused for almost half a century, it fell into ruin before being renovated in 2013. Now the HQ of the Royal Horticultural Society of Ireland, it is charming. Check out Marlay House while you're there too. Sunday only. Marlay park, Rathfarnham.
This year the lotteries for those harder-to-get-into spots opened in September, so keep an eye on the Irish Architecture Foundation (architecturefoundation.ie), Facebook and Twitter in plenty of time for 2018. Happy house hunting!