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he popularity of property and home interiors shows on television proves just how much we love getting an inside look at how other people live but Open House, the annual architectural extravaganza, goes so much further. The weekend-long festival opens the doors of homes, but also all manner of spaces, from water treatment plants (far more fascinating than you might think), to industrial sites, to historic architectural landmarks. Now in its 13th year, Open House Dublin (openhousedublin. com) has the theme “Tomorrow’s Past: Discover our Future Heritage” and, with more than 33,000 visits anticipated during the three-day event this October 12-14, there are a lot of discoveries to be found. Excitingly, organisers have come up with a building from every single decade, from 1700 up to the present day. So, from 9/9a Aungier Street (1664) and Marsh’s Library (1703); to the Royal College of Surgeons (2017), and the new Trinity College Innovation Hub (2018), you can see how we lived and worked, and then imagine how we might be living and working in the years to come. Some of the buildings are richly layered. The new Garda Headquarters at Kevin Street (2017) incorporates some of the old city wall, and beside that is the old Palace of St Sepulchre, which was the official residence of the

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archbishops of Dublin, and the first Dublin Metropolitan Police HQ, more than 200 years ago. Cara is, of course, fascinated by the old Terminal Building at Dublin Airport. Design began in 1936, and it’s considered to be Ireland’s most important pre-war, International Style building. Everything about it oozes the glamour of the golden age of travel. Other hot favourites at OHD are the homes, where you can steal style tips from people’s own architectural adventures, such as David Leech’s conservatory room in Killester, where colour, line and texture all add to the atmosphere. There are more than 100 buildings participating and all visits are free; some are ticketed, some have a ticket lottery system. On the other side of the country, Open House Limerick ( is in its seventh year and runs from October 19-21. They’re celebrating with an “Architecture is Community” theme, looking at how we come together to use space. Enjoy a launch party at the Gardens International Office (the former


Form an orderly queue, says Gemma Tipton, as Ireland throws open its doors for Open House this October.

The Royal College of Surgeons will open up its doors to the public for Open House Dublin this October.

GPO), plus a firm favourite tour of Limerick’s Docklands. Keeping the nautical theme, check out a tour of the Ilen, Ireland’s last wooden sailing ship, recently rebuilt. The Free Market team, who have just been exhibiting at the Venice Architecture Biennale, will also be home to give a talk. During the same dates, Open House Belfast ( is in its fourth year. The inspiring programme includes the artists’ work spaces at Belfast Open Studios and the Vault Artist Studios, the Raidió Fáilte offices at the bottom of the Falls Road, the Harland & Wolff Dry Dock, plus Belfast’s second tallest building: Fanum House.

ILLINOIS REPUTE Open House is a worldwide phenomenon and, as Chicago is a city stuffed full of extraordinary buildings, Open House Chicago is a must for any architecture junkie. Taking place over October 13-14, there are 250 buildings to choose from – ranging from the historic to the ultra-ultra modern. It’s organised by the Chicago Architecture Center, which

runs the amazing Chicago Architecture Foundation River Cruise – 90 minutes of laidback, building bliss ( At this year’s OH, they’re revealing the southside neighbourhoods of Beverly and Morgan Park: expect charming residential projects, winding streets and, towering over it all, the iconic Givins’ Irish Castle.

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Cara October/November 2018  

Cara October/November 2018