Simon Open Day: consult an architect and raise money for the homeless

This weekend individuals, couples and families can spend an hour with an RIAI (Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland) member, poring over pictures or plans of their homes to get advice on how to reconfigure or add to them. Each consultation costs €50, which will be donated to charity as part of Simon Open Day (the architects give their time for free). So far, the Simon Communities in Ireland has received over €30,000 for this initiative. Some places are still available.

While everyone will come away with ideas about what to do with their homes – with all sorts of ideas and options suiting various budgets – in the past some people have gone on to do a project with the architect they consulted, as was the case with the couple who employed Patrick Lynch of House7 to create an extension for them in Rathfarnham, Dublin.

The number of consultations booked this weekend bears testimony to the increase in people trying to make the most of their existing homes . As a result, says architect and presenter Dermot Bannon, "the architect's role has become even more central, in that we are helping people to create a home that will continue to work for them through the years". The link between RIAI architects and Simon Communities is a symbiotic one: "The campaign allows architects to use their talents to help raise awareness and money for the most vulnerable of our society," says Bannon. In its ninth year, the Simon Open Door campaign has raised €320,000. See