Philip Crowe and the poster for Open House Dublin
Open House Dublin is a unique event, organised by the Irish Architecture Foundation. Now its 10th year Open House organises over 100 tours, events and workshops inviting the public to explore the rich architecture of Dublin. At its 10th birthday Open House Dublin tackled a very hard and pressing issue for the city: the housing crisis, and the struggle to provide space for the cities inhabitants. As part of Dublin’s new expansion, the city must reconsider the spaces that are underused or vacant, as an opportunity to redesign the city, how will it become, without the indiscriminate use of land a more habitable, resilient and sustainable city?
That’s why one of the first steps of the heritage revaluations process is to understand within the municipality and the citizens what level of “vacancy” the city of Dublin has. This is what the Reusing Dublin project with its crowdsourcing website aims to do: map the underused sites in Dublin in order to highlight vacancies and animate the debate on what kinds of alternative uses would be beneficial for the community and for the city.
To involve the citizens in this process of sharing knowledge the Reusing Dublin team organized on Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th October a walking tour in the north inner part of Dublin, as part of the Open House program in Dublin. _(caption)Exploring one of Dublin’s largest vacant spaces on Upper Abbey Street
The Tour started at O’Connell Street in front of the vacant building of Celery’s with a group of 20 people ranging in age and reasons for joining the Tour. From the very beginning, the participants were very interested in better understanding the stories behind these buildings becoming vacant. From Cleary’s the group were guided by the reusing Dublin team through Abbey street where we spotted the first group of small vacant buildings; the more we walked, the bigger the sites became: the fruit and vegetable market, the river house, the old match box factory, a catholic church of the early XIX century…in total on the tour we came across 34 abandoned city center sites with big potential for new use. This tour showed me that the city center has widespread issues with the discomfort, poverty and disadvantage that the high number of abandoned buildings creates. New uses could result in deep changes in the city hierarchies and revitalize the north-west parts of the city.
After 90 minutes walking around the city, with a little sadness in our hearts, but with a lot of enthusiasm for the potential changes which could be made, we finished the tour and said goodbye with the promise of working more together in the future to try to ensure the city of Dublin becomes a better and more used city for everyone.
Aoife explains how vacant spaces can have numerous planning applications by numerous applicants over numerous years but still remain vacant.
Philip explains the numerous plans for the Hammond Lane site.
Vacant spaces as places for creative art.