Edible architecture at Galway festival

Russian pastry chef creates sweet model of the ‘Taj Micheál’

Julia Babikova created an edible model of  Galway Cathedral.

Julia Babikova created an edible model of Galway Cathedral.

 

When Julia Babikova (37) first saw Galway Cathedral in all its splendour on the banks of the river Corrib, she wanted to bake it.

And so the Russian pastry chef and mother of three did just that, taking many days, and finishing it in time for the city’s Open House architectural festival which took place over the weekend.

“Actually it took me more than a week in a way,”she explains, recalling how eight years ago she made her first attempt for another competition.

“I took photos of it then, I found maps on Google, and I tried to build it from paper first,”she says, ensuring that her measurements matched the original building.

Locally nicknamed “Taj Micheál” after former Bishop Michael Browne, who initiated the construction project on the site of the old Galway jail, the Cathedral of Our Lady Assumed into Heaven and St Nicholas cost 1 million pounds to build at the time. The foundation stone was laid in October 1957.

Ms Babikova’s model was created from icing sugar and gelatine, and it is an edible material, but “very sweet and dry”, she says. She is currently studying culinary art in Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT), and thinks she may exhibit it there for a while.

Over the weekend, it was on display at Galway City Museum, where an Irish Architecture Showcase exhibition outlined the international success of Irish people in the profession and children were encouraged to create their own designs.

Galway’s Open House, which took place a week after Dublin, included tours of Mutton Island and Inis Oírr lighthouse, a cycle-by some of the city’s 1950s buildings, including Blackrock diving board and the fire station, and an architectural bus trip to south Galway - taking in Thoor Ballylee and Woodville gardens.

Also out in the county, Portumna workhouse, Claregalway castle, Ross Castle, and the ffrench mausoleum at Monivea Woods were among buildings open for guided tours.

A musical performance by Galway Contempo focused on the “acoustic quality of space” ,while there were walks through and by NUI Galway, the city waterways and the city’s “cultural quarter”.

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