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volume 1

1.0 EASA Background 1.1 What is EASA? 1.2 Previous Summer Assemblies 1.3 Hosting EASA in Ireland 1.4 Initial Ideas 1.5 Proposal to Connemara West 1.6 INCM 006 Moscow 1.6.1 Discussions 012


1.6.2 Lectures 1.6.3 Accommodation 1.6.4 Exhibition 1.6.5 Presentation


2.1 Dublin

2.1.2 UCD 2.2.2 ColĂĄiste Eoin


022 025


2.2 Letterfrack 028 2.2.1 Letterfrack History 028

2.2.2 The Furniture College 2.2.3 Campus Facilities

3.0 Theme

031 034


3.1 Adaptation

4.0 Lectures & Events



4.1 Lecture Marathon versus Nightly Lectures 4.2 Dublin and Letterfrack 4.3 Venues 4.4 Lecture Structures 4.5 The Dublin Lecture Series 4.5.1 Dublin’s Metamorphosis 044





012 013 013 014

1.7 Company Set-up

2.0 Locations

006 007 008 009 010

4.5.2 Walking Tours 4.5.3 Official Opening 4.5.4 Contemporary Ireland- Contemporary Architecture 4.5.4 The Showcase Lecture - Architecture53Seven 4.5.5 The Marquee Lecture - Grafton Architects

051 052 056 058 059

040 040 041 042


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EASA008 Overview

4.6 A Section Through Ireland


4.6.1 The Idea 4.6.2 Structure/Schedule/Timetable




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5.0 Workshops



5.3 Workshop management Before and After the Assembly


5.4 Key Workshop Dates









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080 5.5.2 Adapt A Lab 081 5.5.3 Designing The Inevitable 082 5.5.4 Lightscapes 084 5.5.5 Too Cool For Stool 086 5.5.6 Adopt The Green 087 5.5.7 Light & Space 088 5.5.8 Small Interventions 090 5.5.9 Material Adaptable Jouer 092 5.5.10 Make Your Adaptor 093 5.5.11 Repp 094 5.5.12 Nomadic Instamatic 096 5.5.13 Lunchbox 098 5.5.14 Kraftka 104 5.5.15 Zauna 107 5.5.16 Flux Culture 108 5.5.17 Extended Me 110 5.5.18 TELEology 112 5.5.19 HUM:ARC 114 5.5.20 Umbrella 116 5.5.21 Architectural Answers to the Digital Revolution 117 5.5.22 The Green Room 119





5.5 Workshops 5.5.1 Adapt-a-bale




5.2 Tutor Correspondence

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5.1 Workshops Application and Selection


4.7.2 Andrew Grffin/JDS Architects 4.7.3Dominic Stevens Architects 4.7.4 Brian Anson 4.7.5 Richard Murphy Architects 4.7.6 Dorothy Cross 4.7.7 Michael Gibbons 4.7.8 Professor Maria Pinto-Coelho 4.7.9 Laura Mays 4.7.10 Rosaleen Coneys 4.7.11 Architects Sans Frontiéres


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4.7 The Letterfrack Lectures 065 4.7.1 O’Donnell + Tuomey Architects 066

EASA (European Architecture Students Assembly) is an What’s the story annual assembly of 400 young architects which takes place with ? over a two week period every August. The aim of the event is to encourage cooperation between students and young professionals from over forty European countries through the media of architectural workshops, lectures, conferences, debates and exhibitions.


EASA is a practical network for communication, meeting and exchange; architecture students can discuss their ideas, work together and exchange their experiences concerning architecture, education or life in general. The official language of the assembly is English, and members live and work on-site for two weeks. The Summer Assembly aims to achieve a balance between the academic, practical, cultural and social spheres of architecture. Lectures from established and emerging architects, as well as artists, academics and politicians play an important role, but the workshops rely far more on a shared learning experience, with participants learning skills and approaches from each other. One of the main attractions of the assembly is the licence to experiment: workshops are proposed by participants through the year, and once chosen by the organisers are open to all who wish to work and learn. In bringing together some of the most independent, highly skilled, adventurous and thought-provoking young architects in Europe, EASA is a truly one-off event in whichever country hosts it; in 2008, the Assembly came – for the first time in its twenty-eight year history – to Ireland.

EASA The EASA003 campsite at Friland, Denmark Text: Hugo Lamont

Previous Summer Assemblies The Summer Assembly is the annual focus of EASA; other events like the INCM [Intermediate National Contacts Meetings] and SESAMs [Small European Student Architect Meetings] act as supplementary events during the year on a smaller scale.

1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996

1997 1998 1999 2000

2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008

LIVERPOOL, England DELFT, Netherlands LISBOA, Portugal AARHUS, Denmark ATHENS, Greece TORINO, Italy HELSINKI, Finland BERLIN, Germany MARSEILLE, France KARLSKRONA, Sweden KOLOMNA, USSR ÜRGÜP, Turkiye SANDWICK, Scotland LIÈGE, Belgium ZAMOSC, Poland CLERMONT L’HERAULT, France THE TRAIN, Scandinavia VALETTA, Malta KAVALA, Greece ANTWERP/ROTTERDAM, Belgium/Netherlands GÖKÇEADA, Turkiye VIS, Croatia FRILAND, Denmark LILLE, France BERGUEN, Switzerland BUDAPEST, Hungary ELEFSINA, Greece DUBLIN - LETTERFRACK, Ireland

Starting up the EASA Experience Architecture of an Uncertain Future Social Spaces Turning Point in Architecture Interpretation and Action in the City Architecturi Latenti Architecture and Nature The Dimension Between Heritage et Creativé Exploration Regeneration Vision 2000 Environment The Isle Consommer l’Inconsumable Beyond the Borders Dream Builders!

Advancing Architecture Living on the Edge Osmosis Dis-Similarities

No Theme Senses Sustainable Living Metropolitain-Micropolitain Tran, Trans, Transit CommonPlace City Index Adaptation

Discussion about hosting EASA in Ireland in 2008 began in earnest towards the end of EASA006 in Budapest, August 2006 on board the good ship Kassa on the Danube. Three members of the team - Sean Feeney, Conor O’Brien and Ronan McCann - were attending their third Summer Assembly, Neal Patterson his second and myself, Emmet and Francis were coming to the end of the our first EASA. Beyond anything else, there was an obvious blend: some of those most experienced in EASA terms were the youngest; there was a good mix of DIT and UCD students; and there was essentially a group that got on very well with each other, quickly became close friends and were absolutely enthralled by the idea that we could bring these 400 people with whom we had been living [on a boat] to Ireland.


We felt that we had a good team, a team large enough and with enough time and dedication to organise the event; we felt that the economic climate of the time, at the peak of the construction boom – which we had little reason at the time to think was a precarious situation – made Ireland an ideal location at an opportune time and we felt that we owed something to EASA. We had had an eye-opening experience in terms of meeting people from such varied backgrounds, and we felt that we had a once-off opportunity – through the personalities assembled, the amount of building going on in the country and the amount of money swilling around the construction industry which we felt we could tap into – to show Ireland to them. Shown above is a nightime view of the Kassa, the former WWII cargo ship on which we lived and worked for two weeks on the Danube in the centre of Budapest during August 2006.

Hosting EASA in Ireland Why we wanted to bring EASA to Ireland and what turned the corner from talk amongst ourselves to a convicted decision. Text: Hugo Lamont

Initial Ideas One of the most encouraging aspects of our initial discussions in Budapest was that we shared a lot of opinions regarding not only issues relevant to hosting the Summer Assembly, but also about the relevance of architecture to Irish society. There were a lot of things that we felt were important to be looked at, analysed and responded to and – perhaps surprisingly – we agreed on the majority of them.

Goals, Aspirations and Ideals If you can’t be idealistic regarding an event like EASA, you’re pretty much dead inside. Having said that, however optimistic we were about the prospects of fund-raising, we rarely ventured into the realm of fantasy. Our goals were always achievable ones – most of the things we talked about in these early meetings came to fruition during the event. Text: Hugo Lamont

Looking at the minutes, our first meeting of what would go on to be EASA Ireland has held on 20th August 2006 in Jack Nealon’s on Capel Street. Appropriately, the attendees were those who would go on to become directors of EASA Ireland Ltd. As previously mentioned, we had spent some time in Budapest discussing the idea of hosting the Summer Assembly in Ireland: obviously, the major questions revolved around potential locations. It may seem a curiously Stalin-esque rewriting of history, but Letterfrack was always our first option. We wanted the assembly to take the participants out of their comfort zone, much as the stay on the Kassa had done. People would be forced out of their urban hideyholes to the rim of the Atlantic Ocean, a shanghai-ing we felt would be beneficial for the participants and an experience that only Ireland could offer. We believed it would give a heightened appreciation of Ireland’s place on the very edge of Europe, its island culture and the nature of so many elements of Irish life that can at times seem a little outlandish to continental Europeans. Lastly, but importantly to us, we were very familiar with Letterfrack as a project: we had seen the exhibitions, the drawings, books and models. A thought-provoking project in its juxtaposition of extreme sensitivity for built and natural context with a bravura structural approach, it is one of the defining projects of the last quarter century of Irish architecture. Given that it houses a college dedicated to woodcraft and is equipped with a wealth of tools, machinery and suitable spaces, it seemed a perfect fit for EASA. It’s difficult to recall when exactly Neal Patterson’s family association with Letterfrack came up in discussion: it was early in the timeline of our initial brainstorming, but after Letterfrack had been mentioned as a desired location. Whenever it occured, it was one of the most significant elements of not only the success of the initial presentation to Connemara West, but also the eventual success of the EASA008 Summer Assembly. As will be mentioned time and time again, there is the tendency to forget about or downplay the import of some events early in the organisation’s existence: it would be wholly inaccurate to downplay the advantage that these existing relationships gave us in getting a fair hearing from Connemara West and the rest of the Letterfrack ‘establishment’. Having established a highly desirable – but still unapproached, let alone unconfirmed – location to host EASA008, our next objective [primarily in order to convince our putative hosts, then the INCM] was to put together a serious, well thought-out proposal that would detail our intentions for the assembly.

Proposal to Connemara West Immediately apparent to us was the fact that the presentations to Connemara West and to the INCM would, despite their concerning the same event, have to have different priorities and be structured to persuade the respective audiences.

Obviously there was a huge overlap in the material that we were presenting to the two bodies; however, Connemara West would be less interested in the theme of the assembly than what we actually planned to do and how it would benefit Letterfrack and, conversely, the INCM would be far more interested in how our proposals for running EASA008 would match up to previous Summer Assemblies, how coherent our theme and location were and how we proposed to leave our own particular mark on what is, after all, an annual event. Looking over the minutes of our early meetings is instructive in recalling how we structured our approach to Connemara West. We decided on adopting a system that would outline the benefits of hosting the assembly under three headings: i] money; ii] awareness and iii] architecture.


a) renting the Letterfrack facility will bring money to Connemara West at a time when the place is otherwise sitting there empty due to academic holidays; b) despite the fact that bed and board will be generally catered for within the EASA complex, students will doubtless spend money locally, namely pints, cigarettes, snacks, meals etc. c) many of the participants are professionals already; those that aren’t will be in the near future. Professionals generally have money, are well-behaved and may return privately


a) spread national and international awareness of Letterfrack, the furniture college, Connemara West and National Parks b) attract media coverage from RTE (in Dublin) and TG4 (Connemara), as well as print and internet media throughout Europe via architecture Associations and websites

Architecture Connemara West


Connemara West Plc is a community owned and managed rural Development Company in North West Connemara. It was established in 1971 and has over 500 shareholders from the local communities as well as shareholding from Galway County Council and the Western Regional Tourism Organisation. It is managed by an elected, voluntary Board of Directors and employs 14 full time and 16 part-time staff. It has offices in Tullycross and in the Connemara West Centre, Letterfrack. Text: Hugo Lamont Photo:Sean Feeney [IRL]

a) Area study of Letterfrack proposing solutions to problems its inhabitants have, problems that architects can see in it, and problems that might occur in the future with expansion. Essentially making Letterfrack all it can be, a model of a modern western village b) Masterplanning a development plan for the nest quarter century for Letterfrack c) bringing new ideas to the furniture college through workshops and temporary built projects d) holding an international student competition to design and build a permanent pavilion

We worked quickly on putting together both a slideshow and document that outlined our intentions to host EASA008 in Letterfrack, giving information about the history of EASA, what is entailed in a summer assembly, the number and diversity of participants, the importance of the workshop element of the event, how we saw it contributing to Letterfrack and how we hoped Connemara West could assist us. The first meeting with representatives of Connemara West took place on Saturday 23 September 2006 with Janet O’Toole and Peter Veldon, and we were blown away by their enthusiasm for the project. We had expected that there would be a large degree of scepticism about the event itself, and also our ability to pull it off successfully, but we were very, very happily surprised by their easy acceptance of what we proposed to do in their village, their imaginative ideas of how it could be improved, how they could get involved and how realistic several elements of our presentation were.

Proposed Themes Inviting everyone to submit a short outline of their brief – limited to two A4 pages – meant that people who were interested could shape the theme. It was important that the presentations were broad, quick to grasp and succinct if they were to be successful as the theme of an Assembly that brings together diverse cultures and levels of language.

A New Ruralism

“ ... the notion that architecture and urbanism form a closed circuit. Where does that leave architecture in a rural context? Rural communities are often perceived to be more resistant to change than their urban counterparts ... they provide a more rigourous testing ground.”

Out with the New, In with the Old “ craft that is both ecologically sound and very much a part of locals’ day-to-day life ... In learning from these craftsman, we not only preserve something of a dying heritage, but we can also see how the most basic of elements are put to use for human ends with the minimum of waste and the maximum of efficiency through thoughtfulness and restraint – in short, design.”


“ Ireland is a culture of migrants: it is intertwined with our culture, identity and personality ... EASA is a migratory culture by nature. We converge ... and soak up the culture we have descended upon.”

Acclimation “Taking the village of Letterfrack as our organism, we will study how it has acclimated to the economic, social and cultural chages that have swept from the eastern urban centres to western edges over the last fifteen years ...”

This meeting was probably the most important meeting over the twenty-two months of planning that went into hosting EASA008; it was without doubt one of the most pleasant, one of the most surprising and one of the most productive. Without the backing, support and goodwill of Connemara West, and especially Janet O’Toole and Peter Veldon, it’s doubtful whether we could have hosted the summer assembly in Ireland at all.

It’s difficult to express our gratitude to Connemara West for the confidence they showed in us, the advice they gave to us, the understanding they allowed us and the help they provided to us at every avenue. Putting together an appropriate theme and brief is the vital action of a successful EASA bid. As mentioned previously, we all shared similar ideas about the issues the theme would concern itself with: the huge change that Ireland had gone through in the last decade, rapid suburbanisation and city sprawl, rural architecture and the importance of craft in building. The meeting with Connemara West had clarified a number of our plans. Probably the most important of these was that the assembly should start in Dublin. For participants, getting to Letterfrack would be difficult, due to its remote situation and extremely limited public transport links. For organisers, having participants arrive piecemeal would be hugely inefficient and negatively impact the assembly. It was all too believable that people would be showing up over the first three or four days in their national groups,dragging registration out for days, missing the workshop fair, missing the orientation of the site – essentially the nightmare scenario that would have us playing catch-up for the whole assembly. With this important decision made, the ideas of what our theme could be became a little broader. We realised that something that was inclusive of all the concerns listed above was a definite possibility. Inviting an open submission of theme documents was a democratic and efficient way to air our views and prepare a final theme document for the INCM that was relevant, open to interpretation and understandable by participants whose first language wasn’t English. Some of the submitted proposals are listed to the left; eventually we agreed on the theme of Adaptation. We felt that this covered a lot of ground and was relevant to the now bi-locational assembly. With our theme and location locked down, we travelled to the Moscow INCM in November 2006 to present our bid to host EASA008.

Moscow INCM006 The method of establishing where the assembly is to be held is by proposal, presentation, debate and consensus at an annual meeting of experienced EASA members, the INCM (Intermediate National Contacts Meeting). Essentially the INCM is comprised of core, long term members of EASA from each participating country - known as National Contacts, or NCs - who undertake to organise their country’s members, publicise the organisation within their country and contribute meaningfully to the growth, intellectually and physically, of EASA.

EASA Ireland Representatives MOSCOW, 3-12 NOVEMBER 2006 Hugo Lamont Sean Feeney Neal Patterson Conor O’Brien Text: Hugo Lamont Photo: Sean Feeney [IRL]

In November 2006, delegates from EASA Ireland travelled to the EASA INCM in Moscow to present a bid to host EASA in Ireland for the first time in its history.


The INCM is primarily composed of discussion groups; the reasoning behind the meeting is to address issues that arise during the assemblies and to make sure that the organisation is both respecting its primary guidelines [as laid out in the EASA Guide] and making definite progress in its goals. As the network is constantly in a state of flux regarding participants, there is the very real danger that people will keep on making he same mistakes, having the same arguments and generally repeating themselves. Apart from the open NC meetings, it is also vital for past and future organisers to discuss issues regarding the hosting of the Summer Assembly, from fundraising months in advance to on-the-ground issues during the event itself. While electronic communication is a vital tool, face-to-face meetings can deal with a far wider range of topics in less time, avoid the chances of misunderstanding and can problem-solve in a more spontaneous manner.


Lectures play a vital part in the EASA experience, no less during the INCM. Even the bestread architect will be lacking in local knowledge, and even then there are many excellent buildings which never make it into international publications. Furthermore, local architects can better explain certain approaches, be it through historical example, cultural mindset or climate-related expedience. it should be added that the architects who give lectures are not merely glorified tour guides: lectures often take an analytical or theoretical approach, and it is generally those lectures which will prompt greater interaction between lecturer and audience.


Two of the best lectures of the INCM typified these aforementioned approaches. The first concentrated on the buildings and influences of the Constructivists, and was followed by a walking tour through central Moscow. While essentially an historical rather than theoretical lecture, seeing the buildings– many of them now heavily altered – so soon after being reintroduced to their more familiar drawings provoked much discussion. The second of these lectures focused on current Russian architecture, and the dichotomy in which it finds itself. The Russian architecture scene is driven by Moscow, and in the post-Soviet era – now almost two decades old – the city has no idea how to define itself: Soviet City, Metropolis, European Capital or Province? The lecture effectively dealt with this theoretical malaise simultaneously through discussion and a fiercely critical examination of the glut of buildings under construction.

Accommodation Providing accommodation for participants in Moscow

– and in general for INCMs – wasn’t quite the task that it generally is for Summer Assemblies, if only because the numbers are roughly a fifth of what they would be for the latter. nevertheless, there are other issues which complicated matters, not the least of which was securing visas. We were accommodated on the fourth floor of a partially used paper factory, Proekt Fabrika. The building also housed the exhibition hall on the ground floor, an experimental theatre/venue, a bar and several studios. The atmosphere was refreshingly laissez-faire,and participants were free to come and go as they pleased. While discussion groups by necessity require fewer facilities than workshops, there were issues with a lack of internet accessibiltiy. Despite this, documentation of the various meeting, discussions and lectures was not a problem. The sleeping arrangements of approximately 90 participants were catered for in what has become the standard

EASA manner, namely platforms three storis tall constructed of readily available scaffolding and boarding. Given these basics, participants are expected to provide their own ground mats, airbeds, sleeping bags and blankets. Surprisingly, there was no problem with the cold temperatures, even though it was well below zero outside. For this we can thank a pair of ex-industrial heaters: once you got used to the jet engine-esque racket, it became difficult to sleep without them.

Exhibition While

the exhibition held at the end of the Summer Assembly shows the result of the workshops and is thusly a multi-media affair, the exhibition held at the Moscow INCM was intended to provide a centrepiece of the sponsors’ benefit. The emphasis was therefore on showcasing the range of nationalities through a graphic presentation for each participant on his/her university. Given that there were only around 90 participants, the range of over 60 architecture school gives some idea of the

Culture Shock One of the most interesting things about EASA is the chance to go to some strange places and experience them as something other than a total tourist. Hosts have a big role to play in how people see their country. Photo: Axel Frej [SWE]

diversity EASA encompasses. Architecture is a profession that knows few boundaries, and many architects have an inherent willingness to explore and work in foreign countries. added to this is a high degree of technical savvy which ensures that new advance in technology are quickly exploited. Finally, architects are a communal group and will often pass on ideas regarding techniques, programs and equipment. Companies are quick to grasp that giving a presentation to around 100 architects in a single location makes more sense than advertising in their 30-40 odd countries, and is economically more efficient than taking out an advertisement in an international quarterly. The exhibition was also covered by both print media and the television news, thus guaranteeing sponsors not only international exposure but also local press. It’s obvious that the exhibition was mainly for the sponsors’ benefit; while this was certainly the case, the exposition of the different colleges can also be used by undergraduates to choose a foreign school in which to study under the Erasmus program, or for professionals to determine if a postgraduate course to their liking is available anywhere in Europe.


The exhibition was also well attended by students and staff from Moscow’s architectural faculties, with the main address given by the dean of the Moscow Technical School. many of these students had never been out of Russia before, and exposure to so many different examples of work from different European schools fulfils one of the principal goals of EASA, which is to foster a greater understanding amongst European student architects.

Presentation Though

the INCM takes place for more reasons than to chose who will host the Summer Assembly, that is undoubtedly its most important function. As we proposed to host EASA in 2008, it was

foremost in our minds. We were aware that Slovenia and Armenia were preparing bids, and while the latter somewhat petered out, the former was an extremely accomplished effort. Presentations are given through slideshows, videos, written documents and verbal presentations in the first session; then the presenting parties are sequestered to allow frank discussion between the remaining NCs. EASA works through debate and consensus, and in this case, each participant was obliged to give his/her preference and their reasoning. When no consensus was reached, the two presenting parties were invited back to take questions, some geared towards a particular country’s bid, others more general. After this second session, the two parties were again sequestered, and, after another round of discussion and debate, were invited in to receive the verdict. We were lucky enough to win the decision: ourselves and Slovenia had similar themes in mind, and there was very little between the two presentations. Both bids had rural locations as their base, and stressed the univeral importance of retaining elements of traditional craftsmanship while taking on board modern methods and ideas of sustainability and urbanism. We perhaps had two outstanding factors in our favour – the facilities available at Letterfrack Furniture College and the fact that despite our high visibility and activity at EASA over the previous three years, we had never before hosted an EASA event. Despite their obvious disappointment, the Slovenians were extremely gracious in wishing us the best of luck with our organisation, and in general - people seemed very impressed with our proposal.


What followed winning the bid was a return to normality, and a realisation that, beyond the winning of it, driven by a desire to bring the event to Ireland and a competitive streak once we had been exposed to the other entrants, we now had a duty to stage the event. Duty is a burden that weighs heavy on young shoulders – there exists a tendency amongst people of our generation to be flighty and to shy away from taking on tasks that will end up impacting on not only your spare time, but your work. It’s not all to do with character flaws or laziness; people are committed to their jobs. We had a whole bunch of issues – issues being the ante-room to problems. Primarily, we weren’t sure what we should be doing; none of us had ever done anything like this before. Secondly, we had no money, nor any real means of raising money. Thirdly, despite our unified front, we had wildly varying ideas of what the event should be comprised of and how it should be staged – essentially, we lacked drive and cohesion. However, that’s revisionism, the benefit of glorious 20|20 hindsight. We had a talented team, great camaraderie and no shortage of advice. We’ve said to each other many times in the aftermath of the event that running it a second time would be far, far easier – you know what it requires, you know that few things fall into place and that you have to plan even the minutiae, you’ve made good connections, you know how certain aspects of the event will work ... it’s simply experience. It’s one of the reasons that we’re putting this report together, so that all the lessons that we learnt – and all the mistakes that we made – don’t go to waste. The most important move that we made in the direct aftermath of the Moscow INCM was starting the process of setting up a company which would allow us to effectively fund-raise and administer the event. We received a great deal of help from L&P Financial Trustees, who were generous with their time and advice throughout the timespan of the company, but we also gained valuable

First Steps Looking back, there’s a period of dead time between when you are chosen to host the assembly and when you start actively working towards this end. This Final Report aims to show ways in which this time can be profitably spent as organisers. Text: Hugo Lamont

knowledge ourselves on this front, simply through reading, asking questions and making contact with various official institutions, like the Companies Office and the Revenue Commissioners. Something that we hadn’t considered was that we wouldn’t have any income source for literally the first year of our planning activities. Nobody, public or private, was willing to commit money to an event that was 20+ months distant. It’s a serious problem, and one that is difficult to get around: you need the money to lease or buy equipment, to rent space, to install infrastructure like phonelines and internet access so you can get around to the actual business of contacting people and fundraising, before any organisation takes place. At this stage, I think it’s not worth going to the bank for a loan: it’s more a case of operating within yourselves, cooperating with your universities and seeing what they can do to support you. A vital aspect of our preparation at this stage involved meetings with various universities and arts institutions, endeavouring to get them to back EASA with written letters of support. It’s vital to use whatever contacts you have to get meetings and to present yourselves in the best possible light; having these institutes on board means that you are taken seriously as you progress further and further in your fund-raising.It’s all a case of getting their logos on your headed paper!



Eilish Beirne

Emmet Kenny +353 85714 4110

*Director, EASA Ireland

*Director, EASA Ireland +353 86328 7626 +353 87273 3857

Hugo Lamont

* +353 85780 5855

Conor O’Brien


+353 86162 7925

Helen-Rose Condon

*Director, EASA Ireland +353 86194 3116

Francis Keane


Organising Team

+353 87203 7026 +353 86190 2796

+353 86164 9525

Paddy Roche

Wendy Adams

Ruth Hynes

*Director, EASA Ireland

*Director, EASA Ireland

*Director, EASA Ireland

Ronan McCann

* +353 86084 2206

Sean Feeney


Letterfrack Infrastructure, Letterfrack Accommodation, Dublin Infrastructure, Website Design & Maintenance Sponsorship, Competitions, IT Letterfrack Infrastructure, Connemara West Liaison, Sponsorship, Competitions, Pavilion Workshop Co-ordinator Finances, General Workshop Co-ordinator, Materials, Office Manager Lectures, Walking Tours, Tutor- pack, Documentation, Dublin Events, Sponsorship Visas, Applications, Sponsorship, Dublin Accommodation Flux Culture Workshop, Public Money Fundraising Letterfrack Liaison, Events Section Through Ireland, Excur- sions, Food & Nourishment Food & Nourishment, Waste Food & Nourishment Food & Nourishment, Communication [Prose & Poetry] Lectures Starter Packs IT, Events Starter Packs, Sponsorship, UCD Liaison Events

+353 86401 5111

Brian Sheehy

*Director, EASA Ireland +353 85780 5855

Neal Patterson


Conor O’Brien [COB]: Francis Keane [FJMK]: Billy T. Mooney [BTM: Hugo Lamont [HBFL]: Sean Feeney [SF]: Ronan McCann [RMcC]: Neal Patterson [NP]: Emmet Kenny [EK]: Eilish Byrne [EB]: Helen-Rose Condon [HRC]: Bláthmhac Ó Muirí [BÓM]: Fergus Naughton [FN]: Wendy Adams [WA]: Ronan Kenny [RK]: Paddy Roche [PR]: Alan Kavanagh [AK]: +353 87641 7710 +353 86327 3773

Billy T. Mooney


EASA Ireland would like to extend their thanks to the many people whose hard work, perseverance and tolerance has made this assembly happen. We’d especially like to thank all those who have volunteered over the last eighteen months, organisers of previous Summer Assemblies, INCMs and SESAMs and the current NCs and tutors. During the assembly, over 40 people helped out, all of them working long, sometimes unsociable, hours and dealing with stressful situations as best they could. Special thanks go to those who were able to help out during the final weeks before the assembly: with preparations simultaneously underway in two locations, we needed as much help as we could get. It was a major boost to us to take on fresh volunteers who could slot in and use their initiative at a time when we were thinly stretched both in terms of time and personnel. We’d also like to thank everyone at L&P [with whom we share a building] for all their help and patience over the last two years, as well as all those who have gone out of their way to support us, be they sponsors, lecturers or well-wishers.

+353 86150 5145

Cecily Weeks

Paul Flynn

Will Casey

Dani Armstrong

Ciara McGonigle

Declan Reilly

Bláthmhac Ó Muirí +353 87138 4820

Fergus Naughton

Paddy Quinlan

Sarah-Jane Keaveney

Brian Collins +353 87415 6909

Ronan Kenny

Steven McIlvenna

Sal Gallagher

Rae Moore

Michael Bannon

Lucy Jones

Joe O’Muircheartaigh

Iseult Kirwan

Rosie Keane

+353 86833 6858

Jan Haughton

+353 87203 7026

Alan Kavanagh

Kate Rhatigan +353 85714 4110

Jen Frewen

Derrick Keatley

Podge Flynn

Sarah-Grace Keane

Helen Hancock

Locations 2.0 Locations


Text: Hugo Lamont Photo: Renvyle Beach, above, Ronan McCann [IRL]

The decision to host EASA in two locations is not without precedent. At EASA005, people stayed a night in Zurich before moving to the site of the assembly in Bergun, and EASA997, The Train, epically brought people all around Scandinavia on a specially chartered train for two weeks. We had resolved for a number of reasons that we would start the assembly in Dublin before moving to Letterfrack. Discussing the idea of having the participants arrive in Dublin and leave for Letterfrack the next day [a lá EASA005], we thought it a better idea to give them a proper introduction to the city. Dublin is the centre of Irish architectural education, and indeed Irish architecture. Beyond that, it’s the social and cultural capital hub of the country, and any understanding of the country as a whole is flawed without experiencing the city. Letterfrack will always be remembered as the location of EASA008. Dublin was the preamble, Letterfrack the book. The horrendous weather made “Wetterfrack” an unforgettable – and unrepeatable! – trip to the edge of Europe. Something that we will discuss later in the Theme Section is how we wanted to take the participants out of their comfort zones in cities and expose them to the sometimes harsh realities of living on the Atlantic Ocean. From the feedback we received during and after the event, I think we succeeded ...

2.1 Dublin Loop Line Bridge, the eastern visual boundary of the Liffey. The western border is Capel Street Bridge, with the relatively new kiosks. Text: Hugo Lamont Photo: Loop Line Bridge, above, Roland Nemeth [HU]

Dublin is the largest city in Ireland and the most diverse in terms of population and cultural make-up. The city was the epicentre of the boom; it both engendered growth around the country and saw huge development itself during the last fifteen years. Construction was grinding to a halt in late 2007; nobody could have forecast that it was a harbinger of the financial upheaval that was to come within the next twelve months, but people in the trade were aware that the times of plenty were drying up very quickly. As mentioned in the previous chapter, we were concerned on two counts with people arriving directly into Letterfrack. Firstly, it would be an organisational and administrative nightmare, and secondly it would give an unbalanced view of the country. Letterfrack exists; so does Dublin. In trying to show two very different sides of Irish life – the urban and the rural, the East and the West – we were attempting to show all the participants big picture Ireland. Given the time-frame, it’s a huge ask; I think it would have been lazy and amateurish not to try, even if many of the subtleties are lost.


Dublin is home to many of us. It’s the capital of the country and yet very much at odds with the rest of the country. Disliked as being either too refined or too coarse, it suffers from being the main urban centre on an island that is predominantly still rural. The organisation of the Dublin leg was at times very enjoyable, at times exceedingly frustrating. We were looking at venues to accommodate EASA in Dublin for a number of months – boarding schools out of term, student accommodation in Trinity College, the UCD student village in Belfield – without success. It was potentially a very expensive part of the event; we were at one stage considering whether it was an absolute necessity, because the

three days just seemed to eat up the budget. However, due to the endeavours of a couple of members of our team, we were able to get in contact with Coláiste Eoin, the Gaelscoil on the Stillorgan dual carriageway. Our team members were distinguished alumni, and, having introduced the idea of EASA to the school administrators, we were delighted to learn that they were unreservedly backing the event and offered the use of their school as our accommodation base in Dublin. This was an exceedingly generous offer, without which the event would have run into serious expenses. Being based in Coláiste Eoin, it was obvious that UCD was very >>>

much in play in terms of hosting events. That given, we were >>>

still concerned that people shouldn’t be isolated out in Stillorgan: what was the point in brining people to Dublin if we were essentially going to ghetto-ise them in one of the southside’s many salubrious suburbs? We devised a plan that, broadly speaking, had participants registering in Coláiste Eoin on Saturday, exploring the city on Sunday and attending talks and lectures in UCD on Monday. With this schedule, we felt that we were using everything that had been offered to us in terms of facilities, as well as providing different backdrops and venues to stimulate the participants’ attention.

Saturday 9 Aug - Monday 11 Aug



Established in 1854, University College Dublin (UCD) has played a key role in the history of the modern Irish State. UCD has produced graduates of remarkable distinction including famous surgeons, architects, entrepreneurs and five of Ireland’s Taoisigh (Prime Ministers). Perhaps the best known of all its graduates is the writer James Joyce, who completed his Bachelor of Arts at the university in 1902. The Pritzker Prize-winning (1982) architect Kevin Roche is also a distinguished alumnus. Today, UCD boasts a student population of more than 22,000, with over 2,000 international students from some fifty countries around the world. More than 25% of the current student population is engaged in graduate research and scholarship. Each of the five colleges at the university - Arts & Celtic Studies, Business & Law, Engineering, Mathematical & Physical Sciences [which includes the School of Architecture, Landscaping and Civil Engineering, based in Richview], Human Sciences and Life Sciences - has its own dedicated graduate school with the explicit task of enhancing doctoral and post-doctoral training to match the national strategy of establishing Ireland as a premier source of 4th level education and research. UCD has an interesting - if flawed - architectural pedigree. In 1959, a Government Commission recommended that University College Dublin should transfer to a new campus at Belfield from St Stephen’s Green in Dublin city centre. The nucleus of the present 300 acre campus was Belfield House, purchased in 1934 for use as playing fields; several other properties were acquired in the 1950s and 1960s. An international competition for the lay-out of the campus and the design of the Arts and Administration buildings was won in 1964 by Andrzej Wejchert of Warsaw. This masterplan has attracted a degree of criticism from its inception: many feel that the inherent sprawling nature of the campus does little to foster dynamic relationships between faculties, colleges and students. Beyond this primary concern, serious issues also arose regarding several changes to the original plan made in reaction to the student riots in 1968. Several questionable decisions made by college authorities and designed to deter student action resulted in a noticeable deterioration in the calibre of assembly spaces. This seeming fear - or contempt - for the desired user-base has had a negative effect on campus life since the first buildings were completed towards the turn of the decade. Since the 1960’s, the campus has been extensively developed as UCD has responded to the increased demand for university places and the need for specialist academic and student facilities. In the last decade, UCD has seen innovative additions to its built form from some of the most eminent practices in Ireland: the Centre for Research into Infectious Diseases by O’Donnell + Tuomey Architects, the Urban Institute of Ireland by Grafton Architects and the Virus Reference Library by McCullough Mulvin Architects.

Architecture in UCD UCD has recently published a campus development plan to chart the physical evolution of the Belfield campus for the next decade. This plan includes a vision for world class architecture, a more than ten-fold increase in the boundary woodland and the network of pedestrian walkways, and a transformation of the academic infrastructure to reflect the ambitions of a leading European university. Given the sheer size of the campus, such development is necessary to improve its environmental credentials, untie the various colleges and densify the built environment of the university as a piece. The Düsseldorf-based practice, Ingenhoven Architects, recently won first prize in an international competition for the new 13 hectare Gateway Campus campus for UCD, being chosen over entries from Zaha Hadid, Snohetta and Behnisch Architekten. Ingenhoven’s scheme incorporates integrated photovoltaics, solar energy equipment, wind turbines and extensive planting, arranging new buildings around a ‘beltwalk-table’ of green space.

That they are so disparate in terms of materiality is an interesting condition: is it a rebuttal to Andrej Wejchert’s concrete-infused masterplan? Do these buildings reflect the suburban condition of the UCD campus? It’s instructive to note not only their aforementioned materiality, but their location as finsihing pieces to different spaces in the campus, rather than taking part in the monumentality of the masterplan. UCD is very much an unfinished campus. It’s not so much the huge swathes of sports fields which make walking distances between the campus centre and periphery so lengthy and undistinguished, rather the approach of the original scheme, which placed a huge onus on room for expansion, the prevalence of the car on campus and the ultimately negative impact of surface car-parking.


Coláiste Eoin

is an all-Irish Catholic voluntary secondary gaelscoil [Irish-speaking school] under the trusteeship of the Christian Brothers located in Booterstown, Co. Dublin. It prides itself in the Irish culture, having extremely successful Hurling and Gaelic football teams, traditional music bands, and Irish language debating teams. Coláiste Íosagáin is an all-Irish Catholic voluntary secondary school for girls under the trusteeship of the Sisters of Mercy, which shares a campus with Coláiste Eoin. Despite an apparent emphasis on extracurricular activities, the schools excel in State Examinations, with over 96% of students going on to third-level education in 2005 The school is located 6km from Dublin city centre. The campus incorporates Coláiste Eoin and Coláiste Íosagáin’s original 1970s-built buildings, a science block, an arts block, the newly built 3-storey classroom block and sports hall, and a large sports field with a football and hurling pitch. Early in the nineties, it was deemed that the school’s existing single storey buildings, built in the 1970s, were far too small to accommodate the rapid growth and expansion of both Coláiste Eoin and Íosagáin. It was decided that the school would require both a new classroom block and a sports hall/auditorium. It took many years of collecting voluntary donations from parents and other members of the public for the project to even reach the planning stage. Despite these difficulties, the building finally commenced in 2001 of a Grafton Architects-designed structure that met with all the schools requirements. The project was completed in 2003 and has since won a prestigious award at the Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland Awards 2004. Traditional music has always been a key part of the rounded cultural approach to education that is maintained in the school. Coláiste Eoin has long been a breeding ground for talented musicians, with many famous performers emerging from the college’s gates, most notably Kíla, Colm Mac Con Iomaire and Dave Odlum of The Frames, Liam Ó Maonlaí and Fiachna Ó Braonáin of The Hothouse Flowers and Davy Spillane of Moving Hearts. Beyond music, Coláiste Eoin is well renowned for its presence in Gaelic sports, especially hurling. The school has several triumphs in the Dublin Colleges Senior A Cup under its belt; as a Dublinbased team, where football is the more popular code, they made it to the All-Ireland Final in 1998. Amongst several notable past-pupils, including musicians, writers, sportsmen, politicians and poets, Coláiste Eoin is the alumnus of EASA organisers Seán Ó Finneadh (Sean Feeney) and Bláthmhac Ó Muirí. EASA Ireland would like to extend our sincere thanks and deep gratitude to the principal and board of management of Coláiste Eoin. Go raibh maith agaibh.

Coláiste Eoin Additions to Coláiste Eoin and Íosagáin by Grafton Architects “The four storey academic block rises to the rear of the site. The bank of trees forms a connection between this building and the Sports building, which nudges its way into the foreground. The Sports building sits solidly on the ground, flanked by the entrance pavilion. The original school buildings , by contrast, start to read as a ground-hugging element or a pergola, as the land rises to the south. Cuts: In the four storey academic building a vertical ‘cut’ is made to allow light into the central, organising corridor and to frame views of the mountains to the south. This ‘cut’ allows the special classrooms on either side to form two ‘hovering’ cubes of brick, symbolic of the two schools. The rear grounded wall of accommodation, separated by circulation , looks north to Dublin Bay and with the horizontal cut of windows , forms a plinth for the two brick blocks above.”



Letterfrack is vital to our examination of the rural condition, as it provides a successful

example of self-sufficient rural regeneration. The efforts of Connemara West, a co-operative movement dating back a quarter of a century, to keep life and employment in a village suffering the disastrous effects of Ireland’s under-performing economy and losing the majority of its youth to emigration provide an inspiring and thought-provoking background to the theme. 2.1 Letterfrack History Letterfrack is a small village located on the Atlantic edge of Connemara. It is almost 310km west of Dublin.The village as founded when James and Mary Ellis, a Quaker couple from Leicester, moved to the area in 1849 and purchased 1800 acres of land in the area. The land they purchased consisted mainly of mountain and bog. The Ellis’s then proceeded to develop Letterfrack as a Quaker community, employing 80 men to undertake a programme of extensive drainage and farming. This was arduous, backbreaking work; the country, especially the west, had been devastated by the famine of 1847, and many famine-relief projects were undertaken in the spirit of giving aid without the appearance of charity.

Location: Letterfrack Given the size of the workforce, an ambitious building programme was also The Co-op [left foreground] proved an ideal venue for several workshops – concrete floor, high-ceilinged, well lit needed. These buildings included the and a clear span of over 9m. As you can see from the photograph, it was heavily used deep into the night by two of the most work-intensive workshops, Zauna and the Green Room. main house, a dispensary, a doctor’s house, a meeting house, a court house, Text: Hugo Lamont, Neal Patterson & Ronan McCann a shop and a row of houses. This develPhotos: Daniel Domolky [HU], above, and Sandor Lilenberg [HU], right opment gave new shape to the landscape which is still visible today, in the buildings and woodland surrounding them. The Ellis’s returned to England in 1857 due to ill health and the estate was sold. The land then changed hands a number of times before it was finally purchased on behalf of the Archbishop of Tuam in 1886. The Christian Brothers then applied for permission to establish an Industrial School – half orphanage, half borstal – for Roman Catholic boys at the location. The permission was granted and construction began immediately on the main building that was to form 3 sides of a square. The building was made up of 3 dormitories, a band room, five classrooms, kitchen, refectory and a washroom; the existing buildings then formed the other buildings within the settlement including the monastery and workshops. Industrial Schools had a dire reputation for hardship and cruelty. Letterfrack became notorious due to its isolation and whsipered stories of beatings, humiliation and abuse. Against this grim background, boys were taught trades such as blacksmithing, coopering, leather-working, baking and carpentry, as well as the fundamentals of reading, writing and maths and over-ridingly, Catholicism. Beyond these activities, sport and music were not so much encouraged as undertaken: the Industrial School band became quite an accomplished one and concerts were given in the school and in towns and villages in Co. Galway and further afield to display the musical talents of the boys, as well as fund raise for projects such as the building of the new church in 1925. Despite the spartan conditions and strict discipline, the boys did their best to make their own fun, but fundamentally the history of the institution is grim.


The school continued to operate for nearly 50 years until reforms in the educational system in Ireland meant that the role of the Christian Brothers in running educational institutions was on the decline and the school was closed in 1973. In 1978 main the buildings were acquired by Connemara West, a group representing the local community, and the surrounding land and the farm buildings were taken over by Connemara National Park. Connemara West had come together in 1971 with 500 shareholders contributing to the construction of holiday cottages to boost local tourism and generate revenue for further indigenous regeneration. It was with this capital that they bought the Industrial School and it became the centre of Connemara. >>>


with social and economic initiatives centred there. The next step was a youth training course > West, >> to provide skills and education to people dropping out of school: this was the genesis for the new furniture college

By 1994 the centre had grown to include internationally recognised courses in furniture design and conservation, a library, a social hall, radio station, farmers co-op and community resource offices. It was at this time that more space was needed and a brief was set to “provide a framework plan for the future development of the site, a community campus for the 21st century”. O’Donnell & Tuomey were chosen as architects after a series of interviews. Their scheme incorporated existing buildings with new purpose-designed structures and provided for future phases of development of both institution and village. This project formed the basis for Ireland’s pavilion at the Venice Biennale 2004. The installation in the Arsenale is intended to tell the story of the past, present and projected future of the site. The exhibition focuses in on the architecture of the new furniture college and pulls out to provide an overview of the history, culture and landscape of Connemara. Letterfrack has something of a depressing past; its initial establishment as a famine relief project by Quakers has all but been eclipsed by the grim reputation it garnered when run as an industrial school by the Christian Brothers for the better part of a century. Industrial Schools were part orphanage, part borstal. Grim places even if they had been run by caring people, the schools quickly gained a reputation for brutality, cruelty and an almost total lack of compassion. Letterfrack was perhaps the most infamous of these institutions, and it’s no exaggeration to say that it won’t throw off its reputation for several more generations. That said, the work Connemara West have done since 1977 has gone a long way to rehabilitating Letterfrack: amongst a younger generation, the place is most famous for its furniture college, amongst architects for the recent work there by O’Donnell Tuomey. Denying its past has never been on the agenda for Letterfrack inhabitants, nor for those who study or work there. It is an important lesson to take forward as the village takes EASA on board.

2.2 Letterfrack Furntiture College The Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology’s [GMIT] courses in Letterfrack are run in partnership with Connemara West (a community and rural development organisation based in North-West Connemara). Since 1987, the partnership has managed and run furniture courses.

Location: Letterfrack Letterfrack has something of a depressing past; its initial establishment as a famine relief project by Quakers has all but been eclipsed by the grim reputation it garnered when run as an industrial school by the Christian Brothers for the better part of a century. Industrial Schools were part orphanage, part borstal. Grim places even if they had been run by caring people, the schools quickly gained a reputation for brutality, cruelty and an almost total lack of compassion. Letterfrack was perhaps the most infamous of these institutions, and it’s no exaggeration to say that it won’t throw off its reputation for several more generations. That said, the work Connemara West have done since 1977 has gone a long way to rehabilitating Letterfrack: amongst a younger generation, the place is most famous for its furniture college, amongst architects for the recent work there by O’Donnell Tuomey. Denying its past has never been on the agenda for Letterfrack inhabitants, nor for those who study or work there. It is an important lesson to take forward as the village takes EASA on board. Photo: Jurrien van Djuikeren [NL]

The Furniture College employs eighteen full-time and twenty parttime and visiting staff and has an enrollment of around 200 full-time students studying furniture design, technology, manufacture, restoration and conservation. Facilities include large workrooms, machine halls, drawing studios, computer suite, seminar rooms, library and laboratories. The aim of GMIT at Letterfrack is to enable its graduates to contribute to, and influence, the fields of design and manufacture of furniture in ways that are innovative, creative and responsive to the needs and development of a quality Irish furniture industry. While furniture design education has been ongoing in Letterfrack since 1987, it is only since the construction of the new machine halls that the institution has emerged from its gloomy past. The O’Donnell + Tuomey designed additions, extensions, renovations and alterations have been one of the most critically lauded Irish architectural schemes of the last twenty years. Apart from winning RIAI (Royal Irish Architecture Institute) and RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) awards in 2001, it was awarded the AAI (Architecture Association of Ireland ) Downes Medal, as well as being short-listed for the Mies van der Rohe Award for European Architecture in 2003. >>>


Location: Letterfrack Previous Spread: Letterfrack Machine Halls by Ceren Kiliç [TK] Photo: Edwin Gardner [NL], right

“It was important that the campus should have a contemporary, >>>

forward-looking identity; both the new as well as the old share a series of social and communal spaces in an arrangement that reinforces the sense of connection with the village with the objective being to transform an obsolete 19th century institution into an open educational resource for the 21st century. The symmetry has been shifted and the axis of approach is changed into a curved line in the landscape. A new entry forecourt opens up the closed form of the courtyard plan like a folded-out chair of different forms. The structural systems of the different buildings have been designed in response to their contrasting functional requirements and their place in the sequence of the construction programme. Given the location on Connemara’s western seaboard, wind shelter is created by planting, earth banking and the buildings. The external materials of the buildings relate to the colours and textures of the landscape: Irish green oak, terned stainless steel, concrete and sand-pigmented render are designed to weather naturally and to register the passage of time.” John Tuomey, O’Donnell + Tuomey Architects

2.3 Campus Facilities The Furniture College was the locus of events - workshops, lectures and social - during our time in Letterfrack. We’ve included elsewhere an overview of the facilities available and their location on the campus. Combined with the machine halls and workshops, the Furniture College also offered an excellent – though underused – library and an IT Lab containing 30 computers, scanners, printers and an A0 plotter.


Beyond the facilities provided by the Furniture College, there are several supplementary facilities operated by different bodies on the campus. The VEC [Vocational Education Council] operate a Youthreach training program which includes extensive metalwork facilities; the Farmer’s Co-op provided an ideal workshop for two of the larger construction workshops, The Green Room and Zauna; the new Connemara West Creche was heavily used by smaller theoretical and arts-based workshops like HUM:ARC, Adapt-a-lab and Extended Me, affording them ideal spaces with a high quality of light, a wide array of power-points, external access for the rare sunny day as well as inbuilt sinks and worktops. Ellis Hall, home to several vital facilities, including kitchens, showers and a laundry [with drying facilities], also provided us with our final exhibition space, as well as our daily refectory. We had always counted on using it, but we had no idea how much we would come to rely on it, primarily due to the atrocious weather that we suffered during the first week.

4.0 Theme As mentioned in the first section of this document, the theme, along with the location, is one of the two vital parts of any bid to host EASA. Beyond the bid, it forms an outline brief for all workshops as well as providing an ethos, a background for the assembly itself. What couldn’t possibly be guessed at was the relevance that this theme would come to hold as time progressed and as we got closer to the event. Ireland got in on the ground floor of the recession, feeling the pinch as early as October/Novermber 2007 when our construction and property market, which, even in light of recent events and revelations worldwide, had existed in a precarious bubble, began to struggle under its own weight and distorted prices. The theme of Adaptation, which was written with the idea of examining the previous decade of growth, became far more relevant in dealing with a frighteningly abrubt deceleration that has since brought world economies into the first global depression.


Text: Ronan McCann & Hugo Lamont Photos: Sergey Nebotov [RU] & Geerte van der Steen [NL], overleaf


he theme of Adaptation is an intrinsic part of the Assembly. It aims to deal with both subjective and abstract ideas at a variety of scales, from countrywide to individual projects. From decades of fiscal and economic penury, Ireland has emerged over the last fifteen years as a tiger economy on the Atlantic rim with the lowest unemployment rate in Europe and the highest rate of immigration. Clearly such economic changes are not exclusive but accompany major changes in the social, cultural, political and environmental mindset of the nation.

Ireland is a country of approximately 4.5 million inhabitants; a conservative estimate of 70,000 immigrants arrive in Ireland every year. There are now an estimated 167 languages in everyday use, whereas previously they could literally have been counted on one hand. Society is increasingly secular, in what was once one of the most Catholic states in Western Europe.

40% of all housing has been built in the last 15 years, at a rate 5 times that of Italy, 6 times that of Britain and 7 times that of Germany. In 1995 the average price of a new home was €77,994; by 2004, it was €249,191. Productivity growth in that decade (1995-2004) was twice that of our nearest EU competitor (Finland). Ireland has clearly undergone massive changes. As architects, urbanists and planners, it is vital to actively analyse the adaptations and changes that have come to pass in the space of a generation.Particularly relevant is the explosion of growth in and around Dublin, a city which has doubled in population over twenty years. Given this increase in population and size, and despite the influx of genuinely vast sums of money, the city is identified with a distinct lack of urban planning and conscientious development to the point where it has been identified by the EU as an example of how not to develop cities. The Section Through Ireland exposes participants to the existing models of development, rapid suburbanisation and subsequent sprawl. The journey from Dublin to Letterfrack gives an observable visual transition, an urban, economic, cultural and social section of the country. It examines the trend of one-off rural housing as an unsustainable model, depriving the country of an effective system of public transportation. >>>

4.0.1 Theme (Redux) >> >

As once-thriving towns become engulfed by the sprawl of Dublin, communities become mere dormitory towns. In towns such as Naas and Navan, which have been consumed into the growth area of Dublin, new civic architecture holds the potential to re-invigorate the community, and instill a sense of identity.

It’s revealing, and even a little ridiculous, to look back on this theme document and consider what we – and everybody else – considered to be the important architectural and urban problems of the day. These problems still exist, but what is probably most interesting is that nowhere – nowhere – is it even mentioned that the possibility of an economic slump existed in the near future. It’s not mentioned in the FKL SubUrban SyperRural document, and it’s certainly not mentioned in our document. For all our self-proclaimed expertise and foresight (which we’re not slow to trumpet when talking about the future of urbanism or building), we didn’t see this one coming.

Potential workshops could propose new solutions for living in the Irish countryside, more suitable models for its development, new ideas on developing public transportation and even cautionary tales of what could come to pass should development continue in this form.

Taking the village of Letterfrack as our location, we will study how successfully it has adapted to the economic, social and cultural changes that have swept from the Eastern urban centres to Western edges over the last 25 years. The sense and pride of community and of place in rural societies is unachievable in urban centres, in part due to a strong sense of identity and its transfer through generations – be it in craft, language, even stories. The attractions of landscape, tradition, culture and community are a constant draw to these regions. What has Letterfrack lost? What has Letterfrack gained? Are local crafts dying or have they met the challenge of the modern world? How have the lives of the locals changed? Furthermore, how has the composition of the local population changed? Finally, what does the future hold for Letterfrack and similar rural communities?

Letterfrack has an admirable history of self sufficiency and community-based entrepreneurship, adaptation and re-use, specifically concerning the buildings that now compose GMIT Letterfrack. Having started as a Quaker Workhouse, the building came to be used as a Christian Brother’s Industrial School for a long period before its current incarnation as a secular furniture college. Participants can learn from this example, whilst proposing ideas and projects that continue this adaptive process, ensuring that the village remains compact, coherent, lively and sustainable.


Lectures & Events

We felt that the lecture series was one of the most comprehensive

and successful of recent EASAs. A lot of effort went into it, but in truth the outcome depends massively on the availability and attitude of the invited lecturers. To say that we were fortunate with our approaches and how they were received is an understatement: we received fantastic support from almost all those whom we invited, many of whom went out of their way to accommodate our schedule. 4.0 Lectures & Events

Lecture Marathon or Nightly Lectures

Lectures are the most important academic aspect of EASA. They lend weight to the theme, inform people about current and past architecture of the host country, and inspire innovation both during the assembly and later on, be it in career or college.

We had begun putting together a wishlist of lecturers and speakers roughly around October/November 2007. Certainly we’d all been mulling over it in our heads for the previous couple of months, and it was revealing to see how everyone envisioned the lectures going. Beyond the initial debates about who we should invite to speak, there was a series of discussions over the form the lecture series should take. The Swiss model of a lecture marathon at the start of the event has huge benefits in terms of: i) only having to organise facilities for essentially two days of lectures;

Yvonne Farrell of Grafton Architects lectures in the Astra Hall at UCD [right] Text: Hugo Lamont Photo: Roland Nemeth [HU]


ii) scheduling lectures early in the assembly so that they can still have a viable influence on the work shops in days to come, and iii) freeing up time later on in the event to concentrate on workshops. Obviously, there’s a lot to recommend this approach, especially when it comes to deciding a rational program and making life easy for the organisers. On the other hand, you run the risk of the audience becoming quite stale and the event getting off to quite a sedate,

unspectacular – even boring – start, especially if the lectures are all scheduled in the same venue. I think that this is quite an important issue: EASA isn’t supposed to be an extended semester of college, and if people are expecting something lively and then find themselves sitting in a dark room all day, they can become restless which leads to an uneasy atmosphere and an unsatisfactory lecture.

Dublin versus Letterfrack As mentioned previously, one of the earliest decisions we made was to start the event in Dublin, for reasons that have already been laid out. That decision made, the event became a lot more rational and more and more of the program fell into place, seemingly of its own accord. Giving ourselves an extra day at the start of the event [EASA Summer Assemblies normally start on Sunday, whilst ours started on Saturday] enabled us to spend another meaningful day in Dublin outside of the uber-time-consuming registration day, which went a long way to shaping our lecture series. Feeling that each location should play to its strengths, we earmarked many >>>

Venues and Facilities Lecture halls have their good and bad points: firstly – and as mentioned above – they’re generally in colleges, and thusly remind people that they’re in college in the middle of summer. Not always great for morale. On the other side of the coin is the fact that they are built with the idea that they’ll host lectures, and are thusly extremely well equipped spatially and technically to deal with them. We investigated a number of different venues around the city centre to host lectures, including the Cultivate Centre [a converted church on Cows Lane in West Temple Bar] and the Round Room of The Mansion House [the Lord Mayor of Dublin’s residence on Dawson Street]. Both of these venues had lots going for them, but also significant drawbacks: the Cultivate Centre was a little too small to accommodate everyone in EASA, and the Mansion House was expensive and took a lot of dealing with through two different agencies.

of >> > the lectures for the Dublin end.

For all the building that has gone on in Ireland over the last fifteen years, and for all the new schools of architecture that have recently been inaugurated around the country, Dublin is still hugely dominant – probably damagingly so – in the Irish architectural scene. For years and years the only two schools of architecture in Ireland were both in Dublin, and the critical scene is still massively Dublin-oriented. Many of the architects that we wanted to lecture are based in Dublin, so it made huge sense for the majority of lectures to take place in the capital. You stand a much better chance of people replying positively to your invitation if they only have to take a fifteen minute taxi ride to the venue rather than drive five hours across the country. Furthermore, there’s a glut of venues to host

large lectures in around the capital; in Letterfrack there’s a distinct limitation. That said, a good number of the architects that we approached were far more excited with the idea of coming to Letterfrack to lecture and experience the spirit of the event. This was beyond our expectations, but definitely something that we were extremely satisfied with and encouraged. Certain lectures were always planned for Letterfrack, like the O’Donnell + Tuomey lecture, which was really always going to be the showcase of the Letterfrack Lectures, but having architects like Dominic Stevens and Andrew Griffin coming down to Letterfrack to muck in and lend a hand was a very rewarding experience.

CHQ came into play following a meeting with Dublin Docklands. The CHQ building itself is a recently renovated former tobacco warehouse on Custom House Quay [hence the name]. It had originally been set aside under a Haughey-led Fianna Fáil government as a building dedicated to the arts, and a serious campaign for it to become the Irish Museum of Modern Art – now of course located at the former Royal Hospital Kilmainham – had received strong support in the late eighties and early nineties. Unfortunately, instead of becoming a cultural centrepiece for the redevelopment of the docks, it became possibly the highest profile victim of the avarice bred by the Celtic Tiger, a grossly overpriced and under-used shopping mall. However, the original building itself is a genuinely splendid work of architecture and engineering, and the Dublin Docklands authorities encourage use of the generous foyer spaces for cultural events. It was under this aegis that we were offered CHQ as a venue for one of our lectures, and the building itself came to have a symbiotic relationship, however brief, with the Dublin’s Metamorphosis Lecture. The Forum in UCD had long been set aside for EASA purposes, thanks to the efforts of the outgoing president of the UCD Students Union, Donal Colfer, a guy who was enthusiastic, hugely supportive of the event and with whom it was always an absolute pleasure to deal. We had initially looked at UCD as a fallback option: it seemed quite a banal place for an EASA lecture to


Lecture Tent The Lecture Tent suffered somewhat from the weather. We were unable to hold as many lectures as we had previously planned for it. The sound of rain drumming on the canvas was off-putting for both lecturers and audience ...


Photo: Sandor Lilienberg [HU]

those of us from Bolton Street, and >>>

Lecture Structures

didn’t want this to be like school with people constantly trudging in and out of the same place. Thirdly, charismatic and able speakers were high on the agenda: everyone has been in terribly boring lectures, and we wanted people who could hold an audience. Finally, it was important to us that both participants and lecturers enjoy themselves and that there was a back and forth between both players.

There were a series of issues that we felt we needed to address when structuring our lecture series. We felt that the lectures shouldn’t necessarily be either theme-based or portfolio-based [i.e. theoretical lectures on Adaptation or lectures which showcased the work of Irish architects], but should try and have some balance between the two. Secondly, we were keen to use different venues, as mentioned above: we

From reading the reports of each lecture below, you can ascertain that lectures fell into broadly four different categories: i] panel-based talks; ii] portfolio lectures; iii] workshop-specific lectures, and iv] walking tours. There was some cross-pollination between these categories, and it’s worth briefly discussing the pros and cons of each going before going into detail on specific lectures.

it was easy to imagine how sick UCD students were of the place. That said, as the event grew closer, we realised that we had been quite naive regarding the effort of trying to organise moving four hundred people around the city and blind to the practical charms of hosting the lecture marathon in UCD itself.


>>> Panel-based talks are great because

they provide variety and contrast. However, it’s vital to have an able and respected moderator who is not afraid to step on toes, cut short long-winded answers and ask pointed questions. Another difficulty with panels is visual stimuli: architects are visual people, and it’s extremely difficult to organise effective slideshows or presentations that panelists can use to illustrate their points. Something that might work is to ask each member of the panel to give a two minute introduction to their stance on the issue and having a series of “municipal” slides that the panelists have submitted and any one of them can access ... on the other hand, even reading that idea is complicated! You can thus see the problems of putting visuals with multiperson presentations. Portfolio lectures are a safe bet - all you need is a digital projector and a laptop.

The person giving it is totally familiar with the work, and, as long as you’re quite firm with how much time you have [45-75 minutes being ideal], everything should progress smoothly. However, there can be issues with how accomplished a public speaker the lecturer is, and if he or she knows when to move on. Realistically, these things are pretty much out of your control though. Workshop specific lectures are really beneficial, because you know that the audience will be both attentive and relatively knowledgable and you don’t need to worry about organising a lecture hall; generally the audience will be under 40 people and they can just perch anywhere. It’s also far less intimidating for somebody to speak to this number of people rather than a full lecture hall, and, as they are generally speaking to the aforementioned

knowledgable audience, they can be a little more off the cuff. Walking tours are great because they’re a stimulus-fest: beyond seeing buildings, you can touch them, enter them, take your own photographs, see how they relate to what’s around them ... they’re a great way to explore the city. The knock on them is that they have to be limited in terms of numbers, ideally to a maximum of around 20 people.


Frank McDonald is the Irish Times Environmental Editor and author of the books The Destruction of Dublin [Gill & MacMillan, 1985], The Construction of Dublin [Gandon Editions, 2000] and Chaos At The Crossroads [Gandon Books, 2005]. A multi-award winning journalist, he is acknowledged as one of Ireland’s foremost authorities on urbanism, and especially the recent history of construction in Dublin.

Born in Dublin, Siobhán Ní Éanaigh is a principal of McGarry Ní Éanaigh Architects, formed with her husband Michael McGarry. She studied at University College Dublin and the University of Virginia Post Graduate School, graduating from UCD in 1978; she was a Senior Design Tutor there from 1987-97 and is currently an External Examiner. Siobhán is a Fellow of the RIAI, a member of the RIBA, served as Hon. Secretary RIAI Board of Architectural Education 1996-98 and was appointed to the board of An Chomhairle Ealaíon/The Arts Council 1998-03. McGarry Ní Éanaigh have won the CCCB European Prize for Public Urban Space 2000, the UIA Abercrombie Prize 2002 and numerous AAI and RIAI awards.

Dr. Gary A. Boyd lectured at University College Dublin from 1998 before joining the Cork Centre of Architectural Education as Senior Lecturer in 2006. He has published widely including a book on the urban development of eighteenth and nineteenth century Dublin.  He is currently pursuing research into housing design and its histories.

Robert Ballagh is one of Ireland’s foremost artists; as a painter, his work is represented in many important collections including the National Gallery of Ireland and the Albrecht Dürer House, Nuremberg. He has designed seventy stamps for the Irish Postal Service and the last ever Irish banknotes before the Euro conversion for the Central Bank of Ireland. Incredibly prolific over a wide range of media, he has also received great acclaim for his stage design. He is a member of Aosdána, a self-governing trust of Ireland’s most eminent artists, and a fellow of the World Academy of Art and Science. He studied architecture in Bolton Street during the 1960s.

Ciarán Cuffe TD is a is the Green Party’s Spokesperson on Justice, Equality & Law Reform, Transport, and Foreign Affairs and has been a Member of the Irish Parliament since 2002. He has degrees in architecture and town planning from University College Dublin, and lectured in urban planning at the Dublin Institute of Technology, Bolton Street prior to his election to the Dáil. He is a former EASA participant, having tutored a workshop in Liege, Belgium in 1993.

Dublin’s Metamorphosis

The idea of the Dublin’s Metamorphosis lecture was to examine the changes that Dublin has undergone over the last quarter century from diverse perspectives.

EASA Ireland would like to sincerely thank Dublin Docklands, the sponsor of Dublin’s Metamorphosis, for the use of CHQ and their support of EASA008.

We tried to assemble panelists with an interest in city life, not just architects alone. A city is more than the sum of its parts, a fact that architects can sometimes forget. As established - even famous! - academics, artists, politicians and writers with backgrounds in architecture, the panel was able to give a great insight into the city, its culture, its past and the lives of the people who live in it.

The Panel “Okey-dokey, we’ll leave it there so, John.” The Dublin’s Metamorphosis panel prepare their sleves at CHQ, [from l-r]: Frank McDonald, Robert Ballagh [obscured], Ciarán Cuffe TD, Dr. Gary A. Boyd and Siobhán Ní Éanaigh Photo: Daniel Domolky [HU]

4.5.1 Dublin’s Metamorphosis Our objectives with the Dublin’s Metamorphosis lecture were: i] to provide the attending foreign students with an overview of the city – it’s culture/history/geography/urban form; ii] to describe the social/economic/cultural/built changes that have occured in the city in the last 20 years, and iii] to discuss problematic patterns of development and future developments. Frank McDonald was an extremely able moderator and added hugely to the success of the event. He’s well-known to all the panelists and was able to cut across and interrupt them without offending them, which is very, very difficult! He was also very capable at moving things along and making sure that questions didn’t fall flat, asking pointed, knowledgable follow-ups that prompted some great discussions. Moderating is very much an art form rather than a science, but a very necessary role in panel discussions.


Text: Hugo Lamont Photo: Daniel Domolky [HU]


s evidenced from the title, Dublin’s Metamorphosis was intended as a lecture that would address both location and theme. We had had a large number of debates about the structure of the lecture series, and it was felt that there was good value in talking about the changes that Dublin has undergone as a city. As I wrote in an e-mail to panelist Frank McDonald, the talk should be “about exploring [Dublin’s] history, the huge changes it has gone through and the effect it has on the rest of the country.” We wanted the participants to see Dublin in a relatively holistic light, showing the interdependence of architecture, policy, historical factors, commerce, art and social issues in how the city has grown. There’s an awful lot more to any city than its architecture, and we were adamant that the talk should reflect that. Over a series of conversations, we each put forward people who we felt would be strong additions to the panel. We were keen on people who were lively and entertaining, well-known and knowledgable about architecture whilst having distinctly different emphases and backgrounds, so to speak. Most of these choices were based on personal experience. For example, we had met Ciarán Cuffe earlier in the year and had been struck by how quickly he jumped on ideas in conversation, and Robert Ballagh had given a very appealing and humourous lecture to the architecture school in Bolton Street in 2005. My one regret is that we couldn’t get Roddy Doyle, who was extremely courteous and prompt in his response. Unfortunately he was on holiday that week, because he would have been a great addition to any discussion about Dublin.

Having generously been offered the use of CHQ [the newly-renovated tobacco storehouse formerly known as Stack A] on Custom House Quay by Dublin Docklands, we earmarked it as a superb venue for the talk. Nowhere has Dublin city centre changed more than the docks, but it’s fair to say that this change, while largely positive, hasn’t come without its downside. The venue itself quickly became a serious source of contention; Robert Ballagh had been extremely active in the campaign for it to become the new national modern art gallery during the 1980s, when it had been ear-marked for an arts-based use by a Haugheyled Fianna Fáil government. Its current incarnation “as a soulless, over-priced shopping mall for the nouveau riche” was indicative of what had happened to the city over the previous decade.

The panel was composed of: Frank McDonald [journalist], Irish Times Environmental Editor and Author of The Destruction of Dublin [Gill and MacMillan,1985], The Construction of Dublin [Gandon Press, 2000] and Chaos at the Crossroads [Gandon Books, 2005] Robert Ballagh [artist], one of Ireland’s most well-known and prolific artists, who initially studied architecture at Bolton Street before trading up for a bass guitar, then a paint-brush Ciarán Cuffe TD [politician], Green Party member of The Dáil with a degree in architecture and a masters in urban planning from UCD Dr. Gary A. Boyd [academic], Senior Lecturer at Cork Centre of Architectural Education, having taught in the UCD School of Architecture at Richview since 1998 Siobhán Ní Éanaigh [architect], principal of McGarry NíÉanaigh Architects and architect behind two of boomtime Dublin’s most important civic spaces, Smithfield and the Liffey Boardwalk

Looking back at the panel, it would have been interesting to see if we could have convinced one of the major city centre developers to partake in the debate. More than any architect or policy-maker, they have been the movers and shakers behind the changes in Dublin, for better or worse. However, we had little luck with developers over the whole period of organisation, and it’s unlikely that any one of them would have put themselves in the firing line so that they might have to defend their positions. We were aiming for a spirited discussion, but we didn’t need a lightning conductor for bolts of abuse from all over Europe! In all, the lecture was a great success and certainly one of the high-points of the Dublin leg. Moving about 400 people into the city centre on a Sunday morning was quite the challenge, but it was managed solely through a regular Dublin Bus service. The venue itself worked out well – while the overheads were very costly, everything was absolutely first class, from AV to security to the seating [and the velvet rope - swish!] It was our most highly publicised, accessible and public event, so it was important to portray ourselves as well-organised, thorough and reputable.



Walking Tours Walking Tours of the city were led by a number of prominent Dublin-based architects as part of our lecture series. This approach stemmed from the limited time that participants had in the city, as well as a desire to escape from the traditional format of lectures given in a blackened room with a white screen. Dublin is a very walkable city, but since participants didn’t have much time in it, we thought that it’d be a good idea if there was someone there to show them around. Beyond that, there are a number of hidden gems scattered across the city; they’re not known to many Dubliners, let alone visitors, but they’re well-known to many architects. The tours were architectural, cultural, historical, culinary, artistic, industrial, transport-based, park-related, maritime ... they ran the gamut, and were a credit to the imagination and decency of all those who contributed their free time to help out the assembly. Everyone saw a wide-ranging and diverse slice of Dublin: new and old, parks and pubs, cathedrals and universities, streets and shops ... Essentially, the guides were working as curators of the city: we reckon that it was the best way for the participants to get the most out of their short stay. Walking Tours Guides Geoff Brouder [O’Donnell + Tuomey] Cian Deegan & Alice Casey [O’Donnell + Tuomey/Tom de Paor/TAKA] Donal Hickey [Arcus] Gary Mongey [Box Architecture]  Will Dimond [Donaghy Dimond] Duncan Crowley [Eco Intelligent Growth, Barcelona]  Michael Pike & Grace Keeley [GKMP]  Andrew Clancy [Clancy Moore Architects]  John Graby [RIAI] Gerry Cahill / Derek Tynan [GCA, Derek Tynan Architects] Sarah-Jane McGee [UCD graduate] Dr. Hugh Campbell & Dr. Gary Boyd [UCD & UCC professors] Mairtin D’Alton & Aileen Igoe [Gerry Cahill Architects] Kevin Walsh [Boyd Cody Architects] John Mc Loughlin [DDDA] Wendy Barrett [UCD Staff] Frank McDonald [Irish Times] Peter Tansey [Lotus] Gavin Wheatley [HKR]

4.5.2 Walking Tours The walking tours were extremely successful: this is solely due to the enthusiasm and imagination of those architects, journalists, academics and interested parties who got involved. Many of them went way above and beyond the call of duty, buying their participants meals, renting out bikes – very generous gestures which the organisers very much appreciate. As mentioned before, the walking tours were intended as a relief from more typical, more traditional lectures ; it was also very much part of the plan for a whole day in the city centre, rather than focusing everything in Dublin around UCD. Basing everyone out in Stillorgan worked brilliantly for logistics , but gave a slightly sequestered vision of the city to our participants. We felt that these walking tours gave everybody as wide as possible an experience of the city centre, and were a rewarding experience. Text: Hugo Lamont Photo: Jurrien van Djuikeren [NL] Bojana Boranieva [FYROM], previous spread

Lanes and Mews Swimming Tour/Forty Foot Dublin by DART and Luas Liberties - Office, Home and History Botanic Spine/Botanic Spire Living and Working in the City Centre Bike Tour - Phoenix Park to the South Wall The Graby Train Clarion Quay PhoenixPark Parnell Square & Hugh Lane Western City Edge | Heuston - Kilmainham Social Housing in Dublin - Skirting the Monumental Dublin Docklands Wendy’s Long Walk

Official Opening at Dublin Castle

The Official Opening at Dublin Castle was one of the highlights of the event; there was a huge amount of satisfaction that the Dublin end of the event was well underway, mixed with a distinct sense of optimism for the Letterfrack leg. What’s more, it provided an opportunity for all our family, friends and employers to see what we had been working on. That it took place in the State Apartments of Dublin Castle made it a high profile event, and one that presented EASA008 in its best light to our sponsors, the press and those who had contributed to the event. For this we have to thank the extremely generous sponsorship of the Office of Public Works as well as the hardwork and co-operation of the staff at Dublin Castle, who were hugely obliging in their preparation of the apartments, their advise in the build-up and their work on the night itself. Their professionalism was striking, especially in the courteous way they dealt with us throughout our working relationship. Despite the fact that they are more used to dealing with politicians, visiting dignitaries and high-profile events, they never treated us with anything less than respect.

Official Opening On of the highlights of the Official Opening of EASA008 was the speech of Sean O’Laoire, President of the RIAI (above). The Institute, and especially Sean O’Laoire, John Graby and Kathryn Meghan, have been hugely supportive of EASA since 2007.


Text: Hugo Lamont Photos: Daniel Domolky [HU], this page, & Mahdi Biagoli [IT], right

Thanks EASA Ireland would like to sincerely thank the OPW, sponsor of the Official Opening of EASA008, for the opening of Dublin Castle and support of EASA008.

Aside from the Opening Ceremony itself, Dublin Castle also hosted two exhibitions which we had organised. The inaugural Europan Ireland competition, a prestigious biannual Europewide housing competition open to architects under forty and administrated by the RIAI was lent to us by the Institute, and the EASA Ireland Green Room competition [which attracted over fifty entries in its own right] added another attraction to the night, if also another element to be organised.


Lectures What I’ve learnt from this lecture is not to over-reach; to be absolutely clear with people who are lecturing about what you expect from them and not to be too deferential! You’ve invited them to give a lecture, which, while it is a call on their time, is also an honour , especially if it’s in front of a big audience; in this case, an audience assembled from all over Europe. That said , there are several things about this lecture which were both very enjoyable and a real credit to both the theme of the lecture and those who took the stage. It was the first time that Ryan Kennihan and Peter Carroll had lectured, which I found a little surprising, but I must say that it’s a great feeling to give somebody you respect a chance to lecture and give them the opportunity to show their work to a wider, and generally appreciative, audience.


Text: Hugo Lamont


ontemporary Ireland - Contemporary Architecture brought to

gether some of the most talented and well-recognised architects in Ireland to discuss their work, the defining points of their education and careers, the state of architecture in Ireland - both as a profession and as an artistic, cultural and social undertaking - and where Ireland stands in regards to the rest of Europe. Between them, Boyd Cody, FKL, A2 and Ryan Kennihan have won numerous national and international awards; they are also deeply involved in architectural education in Ireland, at UCD and DIT in Dublin and UL in Limerick. This was an ambitious lecture, and one which we didn’t pull off quite as successfuly as we would have liked. Looking back on it objectively, one of the main issues was that we were trying to cover too many bases with one lecture. From the introduction: “Irish architecture and its place in a construction boom rapidly drawing to a close is an interesting study in how architecture is regarded by various elements of society. What has been built? Was architecture relevant to the building industry that essentially grew a decade long economic boom, or was it side-lined? How can architects push the case for architecture and urbanism to people who have a huge amount of other issues to worry about?” If this was what we were trying to cover, then we should have run a discussion panel similar to the Dublin’s Metamorphosis panel; we should have included people outside of the world of architecture, including a planner and a developer. What we were more interested in was talking about was the contemporary architecture scene in Dublin – essentially the architecture that we like, the architecture that is >>>

being built by hard-working and ambitious young practices and >>> the architecture that is winning awards.

We certainly had the protagonists in mind when we went about setting up the lecture. In many ways, we were almost trying to build a lecture around the panel. They’re all educators, so we thought it’d be informative to get their views on the education of young architects, and especially how their manner of teaching reflected their work. Again, this would have made an interesting lecture in its own right, if we had committed to it. Finally, we also wanted to use the occasion to allow the firms to show some of their work. We thought it would be beneficial to the participants to get an idea of what is winning awards in Ireland at the moment, what is critically prized inside the profession. All the invited panelists were AAI Award regulars, and have really risen to prominence through that organisation over the last five to six years as the successor generation to Group 91. We had plenty of ideas. What we didn’t have was an editor, or the experience to know that trying to squeeze so many disparate topics into 100-120 minutes was going to dilute the overall effect of the lecture. In truth, as I have mentioned above when discussing lectures generally, when you have a panel, you need a moderator. It helps to keep the pace up, and to keep the discussion on point. With that said, there were many positives from the lecture. Firstly, the portfolio element of it went extremely well; a wide array of work was shown, the ideas and beliefs behind them expanded upon and placed in context in the respective firm’s oeuvres.

Furthermore, it was a good panel: the people we had selected spoke well and passionately about their architecture and its role. Something that was a little surprising was their acknowledgment that the profession exists in Ireland in something of a niche. None of them had delusions of grandeur or the overstriding ambition that is obvious in some more well known European architects. It came across from the speakers that there is a distinct emphasis on building things well. This approach of careful detailing and weighty geometric forms owes something to the formally reserved Swiss; however, there is the knowledge that the construction trade in general is nowhere near as professional as that of the Swiss. There are serious issues with building what you have designed in Ireland, and it was stressed by every speaker that there is no substitute for time on site.

The showcase lecture was a short, one-hour portfolio lecture which, from the outset, we had designated as an opportunity to give some exposure to an architect who we [the organisers] liked, who was young and who hadn’t necessarily had the publicity that they could have had. A secondary aim was to bring to light work that has gone on outside Dublin, showing that there is an emerging future for a new rural architecture. Jason O’Shaughnessy of architecture53seven was a near-unanimous decision. What he’s doing in the midlands is a brave and unprecedented move in Irish architecture; he’s building projects that would be cutting edge in Dublin, never mind in quiet country towns and villages. Furthermore, his self-reliance and initiative in setting up on his own directly after finishing his degree is unusual and admirable. Most people cut their teeth with a larger firm and then go out on their own, as learning how to build can be an expensive process. This is particularly true when you’re trying to build designs that require a high degree of craftsmanship from your contractor. We thought that Jason’s approach and background would provide a stimulating reflection of the previous lecture, Contemporary Ireland - Contemporary Architecture. The panelists in the latter – Dermot Boyd of Boyd Cody, Peter Carroll of A2, Gary Lysaght of FKL and Ryan Kennihan of RWKA and all Dublin-based and share a similar ethos, a weightiness that owes a lot to Kahn, Zumthor, Chipperfield, Utzon and Moneo.

4.5.5 The Showcase Lecture - Architecture53seven Architecture53Seven is a practice was established in 2000 by its principal, Jason O’Shaughnessy. The focus of the practice has been on the delivery of inventive architecture, and they have already won several prestigious architecture awards and has been shortlisted and exhibited in a number of International Competitions. The practice has focused on the investigation of architecture through process. Each project is addressed from first principles, where the outcome of the design is not simply assumed, but accumulated by an understanding of the site typology, program, histories and other forces that are then reconciled to create a new distinct architecture.


Text: Hugo Lamont

Architecture53seven operate out of Portlaoise; Jason’s approach owes something to early Zaha Hadid, Greg Lynn and Tom Mayne. It’s an approach that is singular in Ireland – though Tarla and Antoin Mac Gabhann have recognisably Libeskind leanings, which is only to be expected given the employment history – and we felt that it was worth recognising and expsosing to participants, lest they think that every architect in Ireland read from the same page. The lecture itself was involving and well paced. The audience was introduced to some of architecture3seven’s early built work in the midlands, their award-winning recent projects and some unbuilt projects in Ireland and further afield. It’s always intriguing to see new, unpublished work from a practice that you’re familiar with, and this was no exception. There are identifiable associations and aspects of past work in these new projects, but there’s a range and scope with which the practice are as yet unfamiliar. Interesting to see how they play out ...

The Marquee Lecture brought to a close our Dublin series with a lecture from Yvonne Farrell of Grafton

Architects. This lecture initially aimed to showcase the rising eminence of Irish architects in Europe: the construction boom obviously gave rise to work in Ireland, but it also gave a confidence and springboard for Irish architects to express themselves on a wider stage. With their Universita Luigi Bocconi in Milan nearing completion, we felt that Grafton Architects were uniquely placed to offer an insight into their experiences as Irish architects in Europe. Luckily for us, Yvonne didn’t rigourously stick to the brief, and we were instead shown not only the Bocconi project, but also the new Department of Finance building on Merrion Row, the Billets. Seeing these two projects back to back – one completed within the last six months, the other due for completion within the next six months – gave very interesting counterpoints between the building climates, scope and capabilities that exist in Ireland and Italy. Due to the generous nature of the talk, her willingness to go into the methods and processes of Grafton’s work, her unselfconsciousness and desire to inform, it was a phenomenally interesting and entertaining lecture, probably the best I’ve been to in my nine years of architectural education. What was most impressive, beyond Yvonne’s demeanour, was the standard of the work. We were being shown the original, unadulterated concept sketches and rough drawings of projects which are of an extremely high standard; in the case of the Universita Bocconi, one of the most impressive schemes that has gone into construction in the last decade on a worldwide basis. One of the most satisfying aspects of the lecture was the standard of questions put forward from the audience, from Irish and Europeans alike. It was especially pleasing to see people ask questions which weren’t particularly leading or merely a chance to air their opinions in the guise of a question: people were asking questions out of genuine curiosity and because they thought that they’d get a genuine and thoughtful answer. Invariably, they did. Yvonne answered questions for approximately forty minutes; we felt we had to limit it or we’d be there all night. Even after this extended Q&A, she was swamped by people asking questions on a one-to-one basis, and she graciously stayed around to answer them as best she could, even though it was coming up to 11pm at this stage. It was an excellent way to end the Dublin lecture series; people were genuinely excited about the projects that had been shown and were very affected by the open, enthusiastic and passionate way in which Yvonne had presented them.

4.5.6 The Marquee Lecture - Grafton Architects Yvonne Farrell of Grafton Architects lecturing to EASA in the Astra Hall, UCD. That’s Sverre Fehn’s Nordic Pavilion in Venice in the background slide, one of the major influences on the Universita Luigi Bocconi. Established in 1978, Grafton Architects are recognized nationally and internationally for the production of buildings and urban interventions of a consistently high standard, having won over 20 awards and several competitions. The work of the practice has been exhibited in Paris, Zurich, Madrid, Barcelona, London and at the 2002 and 2008 Venice Architecture Biennale and has featured in many international publications. Grafton Architects have a rigorous and sensitive approach to building in the city, believing strongly that careful research is crucial in order that latent urban potential is nurtured in a manner that sustains and builds upon the essential character of places in the city. Text: Hugo Lamont Photo: Daniel Domolky [HU]


A Section Through Ireland 4.6.1 The Idea The idea for the Section Through Ireland grew from two branches of thought, practical and theoretical. Knowing that everyone would be arriving in Dublin, the idea that they make their own way across the country to Letterfrack, whilst potentially an adventurous experience, would be expensive and time consuming. Secondly, Dublin has such a huge effect on the rest of the country in economic, social and cultural terms, that not to expose the participants to it would give an unbalanced impression of Ireland.


With these practical and theoretical ideas firmly in place - that we would move people from Dublin to Letterfrack and that it was important that participants experience Dublin in a more than fleeting fashion - the idea that the journey between the two locations should assume more significance than mere transit became more and more important to us. The SubUrban to SuperRural entry to the 10th Venice Biennale was vitally important to concreting and codifying a lot of the stray thoughts that had we had been batting around between ourselves. Essentially, what we’re trying to do with the Section Through Ireland is show the existing condition that SubUrban to SuperRural highlights. Ireland isn’t just Dublin and Letterfrack; the interior isn’t composed of mere flyover-states. It’s a complicated and, at times, delicate mix of the urban, the rural and the suburban, and we hope that seeing these situations,

with all the gradations that lie between, gives a truer picture of the urban/rural map in Ireland.

4.6.2 Structure/Schedule/Timetable Buses left Coláiste Eoin from 9am on Tuesday 12 August and were organised so that people travelled in their workshops rather than in national groups. We lost a day on the ground in terms of timetabling the workshops because of the trip from Dublin across to Letterfrack.We felt that we could use this day of travel for the participants to get to know one another and hopefully explore some initial ideas under their tutors’ leadership/. The journey, as mentioned above, had several stops. Dublin to Letterfrack is a long trip, and took the greater part of the day, hence the relatively early start. Buses were arranged in pairs, with each pair visiting a different recent building on the outskirts of Dublin: we felt that this was an ideal way to showcase the role that architecture has to play outside the city in exploring, maintaining or overtly stating a town’s civic identity. The four buildings we visited were Solstice Arts Centre, Navan by Grafton Architects; Ratoath Community College in Jamestown, Ratoath by McGarry NíEanaigh Architects; Áras Chill Dara, the Kildare County Council Offices in Naas, Co. Kildare, designed by Heneghan Peng Architects and Brookfield Community Youth Centre and Creche in Tallaght, by Hassett Ducatez Architects. We received excellent co-operation from both the staff and administrators of the buildings and also the architects behind their design. The walking tours that were arranged were well worth the time and effort. Participants got to visit and explore some of Ireland’s finest recent buildings and, beyond that, were instructed in nuances ranging from concept to detailing.



s mentioned previously, we had previously decided against the idea of restricting all the lectures to the Dublin end of the event. We felt that some lectures would be more suited to Letterfrack – O’Donnell + Tuomey because of their authorship of the project and Dominic Stevens because of his work on ruralism. These lectures would have a far greater impact in Letterfrack than if they took place in Dublin before the participants had experienced western landscape and conditions. Secondly, and this is quite difficult to phrase, but we felt that a big part of the theme lay in stressing the importance of architecture in rural communities and context. If we had only had lectures in Dublin, we felt we would have been undermining this idea somewhat. Dorothy Cross, Michael Gibbons, Rosaleen Coneys and Laura Mays are all local to Letterfrack. Dorothy in particular is a world-renowned artist, and we were very fortunate to have her involved, as she was extremely generous with her time, her house, her boat ... everything! She was great. Michael Gibbons is nationally one of the most important figures in archaeology, and well-used to speaking publicly. Both his home and his expertise are Connemara, and he was an ideal choice to give the first lecture in Letterfrack. Rosaleen Coneys and Laura Mays may not be as well known, but they’re both experts in their respective fields of weaving and furniture design. Letterfrack is actually a treasure trove of talents: bringing weavers and designers there would have been like bringing coal to Newcastle.

Letterfrack Lectures

The Letterfrack Lectures were well attended by the public. A good few people made the trip across from Galway, which is no short distance, especially given the roads and the weather conditions. It was gratifying to see people go out of their way to come to lectures which we’d organised, makes you feel that you’re doing a good job and that you’ve piqued some general interest. Text: Hugo Lamont Photo: The Events Tent, above, Jurrien van Djuikeren [NL]

Lastly, we had a number of people for whom scheduling was an issue. The HUM:ARC workshop arranged for a short lecture and visit from two representatives from Architects Sans Frontiéres. Obviously, it was important that their workshop was up and running so that these visiting speakers could get involved. It was a great piece of initiative from the three Finnish tutors, and something that was very successful, not least because of the efforts of the visiting lecturers to understand why we were holding this assembly in the >>>

O’Donnell + Tuomey John Tuomey lecturing to EASA in the events tent at Letterfrack Furniture College. We thought it was very important that EASA should learn about the campus from the architects who designed it, and the lecture was an untramelled success. John and Sheila seemed to really enjoy themselves and had a good look around all the workshops prior to the talk. In my mind, the Grafton and O’Donnell Tuomey talks were the highpoints of the lectures series, and some of the best attended at any EASA I’ve participated in. Sheila O’Donnell and John Tuomey graduated from University College Dublin in 1976 and moved to London to work and further their studies in architecture. Both worked for a number of years at the London office of James Stirling. They have taught at the School of Architecture at UCD since their return to Dublin in the early 1980s and have been appointed as visiting lecturers in Harvard, Princeton, Cambridge and the AA in London. In 1988 they set up in partnership in Dublin as O’Donnell+Tuomey. Winners of more than forty national and international awards for their work across the past twenty years, they have been three times finalists for the Mies Van der Rohe Award for European Architecture in 1997, 1999, and 2003; twice shortlisted for the Stirling Prize in 1999 and 2005; and won the RIAI Gold Medal in 2005. They were selected to represent Ireland in a solo exhibition at the Venice Biennale in 2004. Princeton Architectural Press published a monograph O’Donnell +Tuomey Selected Works in 2007. Text: Hugo Lamont Photo: Roland Nemeth [HU]

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remote part of Ireland in monsoon conditions! Professor Maria Pinto-Coelho, an old hand from the early EASAs and a expert in architectural lighting, added her tuppenceworth in a series of lectures and demonstration to the members of the Lightscapes and Light & Space workshops. Richard Murphy and Andrew Griffin had initially been pencilled in for earlier in the week, but had to reschedule due to other commitments. Luckily, these personalities also had a strong desire to see the event in full swing, and were more than happy to make their way to Letterfrack. Richard Murphy was obviously interested because of his past involvement with EASA, and Andrew Griffin made a sterling effort in cutting short his holidays to experience some EASA spirit.

O’Donnell + Tuomey @Letterfrack Furniture Colllege


Thursday 14 August 2008

Sheila O’Donnell and John Tuomey returned to Letterfrack to lecture on Thursday, 14 August 2008. It was through their buildings that most of us had been introduced to the furniture college – and from there to the village – and we thought it was fitting that they gave the valediction of the assembly once we had gotten over the calamitous fifty straight hours of rain that greeted our arrival in the West. It had been mentioned to me before by contemporaries of mine who worked in their office that they had a bittersweet relationship with the furniture college. It was a work of which they were clearly very fond, but also deeply, irrevocably disappointed. One only has to look at their original drawings for the scheme - due to budget cutbacks, vitally important elements remain unbuilt. Of what is built, much >>>

of it has been altered: its proportions, >>> its materiality, its finishes ....

That is not to say that the architects are downbeat about the project. They recognise what it gave them in terms of its contribution to their process, the tough and rewarding experiences of building in a very rural location, the scale of the project and the critical acclaim that greeted it, not least as part of the Metamorph exhibition, where it was Ireland’s sole entry to the Venice Biennale in 2004. The most fascinating ingredient of their lecture was how they saw this Metamorph entry [which many of you will be familiar with] as a separate project in

its own right from the furniture college. I had always seen metamorph as an extension of the original project, something that was assembled from the detritus of ideas left over, a lesser work. It became clear during the lecture that while they saw the projects as symbiotic, they didn’t seem to draw a heirarchy between the two. Metamorph wasn’t just an afterthought, wasn’t just an exhibition of the furniture college. Metamorph clearly had a much-loved life of its own. That it was tied up with Venice just as much as it was tied up with Letterfrack was established with a clarity that, given their reasoning, seems believable and cogent, but could otherwise be viewed as laughable to the point of perversity.

Speculatively [but, I hope not without foundation], their closeness to the project could be as a result of their complete control of the outcome, regardless of cost, time or circumstance. The quality of finish, the collaborative aspects with highly capable professionals from other disciplines and the obsessive dwelling over minutiae, combined with the reckless disregard for overspending that is an absolute non-starter in terms of large Government funded projects, are all present. They were able to finish Metamorph to their exact specifications, something which was put beyond their reach in the furniture college.

Andrew Griffin/JDS Architects JDS/Julien de Smedt Architects is a multi-disciplinary office that focuses on architecture and design, from large scale urban planning to architecture to design. The office is fuelled by talented designers and experienced architects who jointly develop projects from early sketch to on-site supervision.Independent of scale, this outlines an approach that is affirmatively social in its outcome, enthusiastic in its ambition and professional in its method. JDS Architects make use of an approach where intense research and analysis of practical and theoretical issues are being converted to the driving forces of the design process. By continuosly developing and implementing precise and rigourous methods of analysis, we are able to combine innovative thinking with efficieint production. Andrew Griffin finished a stellar student career in the Dublin School of Architecture in 2007, graduating with First Class Honours and winning both the Ormonde Silver Medal for Excellence and the OPUS Student Award. Having worked extensively in Rotterdam and Copenhagen with OMA and PLOT respectively, he has recently been made a partner of JDS Archtiects at the tender age of 25. He is currently leading projects in China, Mongolia, Taiwan, Brussels and Dublin, and has lectured recently in Mexico City, Ljublana and Taipei. In January of 2008, he was announced as the winner of the Dublin site of the inaugural Irish edition of Europan.

Andrew Griffin gave up his holidays and braved some absolutely appalling weather to make it down to Letterfrack to Lecture on Saturday evening. Roads were flooded. The main rail-line out of Dublin had been put out of action by a mudslide. It’s difficult to stress just how difficult this made getting to Letterfrack, but he was never even in danger of letting us down. Much as we had hoped it would, the lecture proved to be a sharp contrast to some of those which had preceded it. JDS operate very much on a world stage, and their approach to architecture is highly schematic and form based, with a huge emphasis on a diagrammatic approach. It’s a very different attitude to that of many of our previous lecturers, and we felt that it was important to emphasise some different thinking; an object architecture rather than the critical regionalism that dominates the Irish scene. Just as the subject matter was very different, the actual lecturing style was certainly a remove from those that had gone before. Going through over 600 slides in just over 90 minutes, there was no lack of visual stimulation. It is an approach that suits the projects - the initial concepts are clearly diagrammed, and there is a very clear visual procedure showing how the different schemes are moved forward.


Given that it was a weekend – and despite the weather – there were a large number of Irish architets who had made the effort to attend the lecture; a lot of questions were forthcoming at the end of the lecture, and they were answered thoroughly and with plenty of humour. Andy got into the swing of the event very quickly and was more than happy to discuss individual projects as well as the JDS approach well into the night.

Dominic Stevens showed up a week early for his lecture in Letterfrack! He’s a very laid-back and thoughtful character, which is reflected in both his lifestyle and his work. His relocation to Leitrim is well-known to architects in Ireland. It’s a strange phenomenon, having so many people interested in the reasons why you moved house, but it is relevant to both rural and urban living situations today. In the urban lifestyle, you begin to wonder if your quality of life is as good as the media is telling you it is: ‘everything’ is on your doorstep, but your commute is a killer, you work overly-long hours, your mortgage is eating up everything you earn and the kids can’t play outdoor for lack of space, facilities or safety. On the opposite side of the argument, living in the countryside gives you the benefits of fresh air, landscape and a more self-determined time-frame regarding work. However, you rely heavily on the car for transport, are isolated from human company and there is a huge lack of facilities: shops, cinemas, libraries, clinics, schools, galleries, restaurants ... everything that people come to take for granted in an urban situation.

Dominic Stevens Dominic Stevens is an architect living in Cloone, County Leitrim, a town with a population of just over 300 people. He only only does one or two projects a year from his oneman studio, based in an old refrigerated truck. He does his own carpentry and juggles his architecture with farming - he breeds goats, chickens and geese as well as making cheese - and writing about architecture and ruralism. He writes of his work: ‘I run a one-person practice from rural Ireland. I divide my time between architecture, caring for my children and growing food. Just as I believe that buildings are inextricably linked to the lives that happen in them, my practice as architect is bound closely to my consciousness as father and farmer. My office is not a citadel protected by expertise, rather, it has fertile edges that actively absorb the life that surrounds it. I carry out one building project at a time informed by ongoing theoretical work. In order to record ideas as well as building I make Books. The first, domestic, was published in 1999”. As a contributor to SubUrban to SuperRural, Ireland’s entry to the Venice Biennale in 2006, Dominic Steven’s work was particularly influential in deciding the theme for EASA008. His second book, Rural, was published in 2007. Text: Hugo Lamont

Steven’s work looks at how rural communities can recover the elements of daily life that made them successful and longlived in the first place, as well as taking on ideas of urbanism that can translate to living in the countryside. He takes ideas from Europe and the United States and quotes initiatives that address basic needs such as health and education in rural areas. Beyond these basics, he looks at ways to improve quality of rural life in immeasurable ways: travelling cinemas and libraries, for example. Not everything is about newness though. There’s a lot of analysis of how things are - successful meetings like farmer’s marts, and things that should be supported by the government but are dying out, like rural post-offices and garda stations. The strongest theme from his written work is that there should be an emphasis on community in rural areas to combat the loneliness that can overpower those living isolated from each other. Dominic was a great presence down in Letterfrack, chatty and intrigues with the whole organisation and what had gone into [and goes on during] the assembly. It was an extremely wel-attended lecture that many participants talking: ruralim and rural architecture isn’t something that is addressed too often. As a recent population study has shown, the earth is, for the first time in its history, now primarily urban. Architects have been thinking like that for the better part of a century. What about the other 49%? Maybe we should consider them as well?

Lectures The story between Brian Anson and EASA 2008 is a long and varied one, after initially coming into contact with him via his application to the colleges of Ireland to get involved in some form of workshop. Brian Anson would normally do some form of workshop with Richard Rogers ever year, however this had fallen through for 2008, so he appealed to the colleges of Ireland for some alternative, who in turn gave us his details. Over a period of some months we learnt of his life story, his work and the birth of EASA. We had always wanted Brian to come – whether it was due to the impressiveness of his artwork, his stories, the thought of doing a good thing (this would afford him the chance to meet his son in Ireland) or because we felt his presence would be of benefit to the assembly – event though we never really knew what exactly he would do in Letterfrack. As it transpired, Brian Anson became something of a story teller visiting different workshops and arranging his own schedules of talks, open to anyone interested in attending. He was particularly involved in the workshop HUM:ARC. All in all the feedback we received was always positive, even from the man himself. Text: Bláthmhac Ó Muirí & Hugo Lamont Photo: Bojana Boranieva [FYROM]

Brian Anson

The organisers of EASA Ireland were delighted to host Brian Anson at the Assembly between the 9th and 24th of August. Brian Anson has been an advocator of community inclusion in the process of design and architecture for over fifty years and he played several roles in EASA008: storyteller, adviser, devil’s advocate and rabble-rouser. Born into a working class background in Liverpool, England in 1935, he worked as an urbanist and planner in his native city and the city of Dublin in 1960s. In 1969 and 1970 he worked tirelessly for the preservation of Covent Garden, a small inner city borough of London.The buildings and the community dwelling there were under threat of total annihilation by a group of developers and local planning authorities,instilling a policy which had ripped the heart out of England’s post Industrial cities through out the decade.


After rounding-up the local community and holding group consultations, a proposition and compromise was reached which was deemed acceptable by the local authorities. Covent Garden was saved and has since been seen as a successful regeneration project, where old buildings and existing communities can be adapted and evolve without their total demise. Its model has served as a precedent for other projects, most notably the Temple Bar regeneration project in Dublin. A book was published in 1981 entitled “I’ll Fight You For It”, outlining the Covent Garden struggle. As a result of the Covent Garden success, Brian was accepted by the Architectural School of Architecture where he acted as Unit Master from 1972. It was here that Brian was involved with discussions and debates with architects such as Peter Cook, expressing and reiterating the importance of community involvement. Growing slowly disillusioned with the path his colleagues were taking, he strove to create an alternative future to the profession through the founding of the Architects Revolutionary Council (ARC). Brian Anson realised that the problems plaguing the profession, i.e. the pandering to developers and lack of ground roots community communication were a result of a deeply flawed education system. His reaction to this was the foundation of the Schools of Architecture Council (SAC) in 1979.

their history, with a future full of hope. He envisioned a community that would become self dependent over time, utilising and mobilising its innate skills and practices. It was rejected however, as being far too radical. Unfazed, Anson took part in the Mobile Unit Scheme between 1983 and 1986. He travelled as part of a team in a converted camper van through Britain and Ireland, uniting community groups and causing a media flurry where ever he went.

The role of the SAC was a body whose purpose was to show an alternative to the formal education then on offer in the schools of architecture. Brian Anson was elected president of the organisation by the students as a protest against the established schools. In summer 1979, over 800 students attended a gathering in a tower block in Sheffield. Students from all over England exchanged ideas and created their own educational systems and architectural proposals, independent of a main organisation. The gathering was repeated in Hull the next year but unfortunately, the SAC was dissolved in 1981. The momentum did not dissipate however, and its framework was recycled in the form of the Winter Schools, one of which was held in Anson’s native Liverpool. The Winter School was such a success that the students, among them Richard Murphy, decided to invite students from around Europe and England to investigate and propose solutions to the urban decay then ravaging the city. This organised gathering, void of any political agenda, would be later regarded as the first European Architecture Student Assembly. It was the legacy of an idea which had germinated in the winter schools of the late 1970s.

His journeys brought him form the post-industrial collier towns of Thatcherite England to the war scarred streets of Belfast. It was here that the story of the Divis Street flats came to the fore. Anson unveiled a woefully inadequate housing scheme, where a British Army base was built practically atop the residents dwellings. The case was brought to London and received full media attention at the time. A campaign was instigated which led to eventual demolition of the complex.

Brian Anson has been living in France since 1991 where he has been painting, reading and writing his views on architecture and its possible future. He has run a series of annual modules in the University of Birmingham where students from around the world exchange views and learn from Brian’s vast experience of working within a local and community framework.

Brian Anson continued his community work. He was invited by the community of Gaoth Dobhair, Donegal to propose suggestions for the retention of a culture and a language under siege by inept planning authorities. A dossier was published, outlining coherent plans for future development. It was a plan which had grown from the roots of the community and despite having a lack of the Irish-Gaelic language, Anson portrayed a deep and profound understanding for the people and

with special thanks to Bláthmhac Ó Muirí


Richard Murphy Richard Murphy founded his practice in 1991. Its early reputation was built on highly crafted and innovative domestic work in the Edinburgh area. The practice has since won an unprecedented 15 RIBA Awards, with Murphy himself going on to be awarded an OBE. Defining their goals as to make architecture equally of its place and of its time, Richard Murphy architects are currently engaged in work in several European countries and as far afield as Sri Lanka and Japan. Looking equally at careful contextual responses to designing within and adjacent to existing buildings and also constructing new buildings within the contexts of established landscape and urban patterns, the firm has a reputation for thoughtful, well-crafted works. Having built extensively in the west of Ireland, Richard Murphy has a unique take on architecture in this landscape; while Scotland and Ireland have many similarities, there are distinct differences between the cultures - striking to those from either culture, subtle to outsiders. Furthermore, coming both from cosmopolitan Edinburgh and an academic background [with distinct reference to his first class research on Carlo Scarpa], his take on the rural west of Ireland is in that semi-tone between insider and outsider, savant and sage. Text: Hugo Lamont Photo: Roland Nemeth [HU]


ichard Murphy is one of the most highly regarded architects in Britain, the winner of more RIBA awards than any other living architect, wellknown for his work in the west of ireland and the organiser of the original EASA gather ing Liverpool, way back in 1981. He was first mooted as a possible lecturer at EASA008 by Fergus Naughton.

Many thought that it was a little unrealistic at the time, and perhaps unnecessary to invite another architect, specifically one from outside Ireland, to lecture; we already had quite a packed schedule even at that early stage. That said, despite his obviously packed calendar, Mr. Murphy made the effort to reply to our e-mails, albeit through his personal assistant. Simple courtesies like this became currency in the EASA Ireland office as to how we viewed our prospective guests and lecturers, and despite several scheduling difficulties that led to multiple flights being purchased and changed and purchased again, we were determined that we would get Mr. Murphy to EASA008. Luckily we had a great deal of help on his side from his very efficient P.A. Kathy Jowett whom we became very familiar with over the months of rearranging schedules. We were fortunate that Mr. Murphy has such fond memories of EASA. As he often said himself during the event, he was amazed that it was still going on, but he was proud to see that this little “baby” of his that he had started more than a quarter of a century ago was still thriving and

becoming yearly more ambitious. Something that struck me afterwards about this comment was that everyone who has organised an annual event, in this case specifically speaking about EASA, must feel like this. EASA essentially breaks down and reforms itself every summer. Every year the organisers are starting from scratch – new location, new theme, new people, no money ... the only “constant” is a few heldover participants from other events. That said, we recognise and are frankly amazed that it could be run at all in the days before the internet, Skype and budget airlines. It’s clear that a lot of things have changed since then, and not just the technology: the buccaneering spirit, independent mindsets and commitment to exploration and change that were required to run this type of event in turn of the eighties Britain – fresh from a threeday week, under Thatcher rule, on the brink of war in the Falklands and at the height of the Cold War – has clearly been softened by years of economic plenty ....

Lectures Dorothy initially came to talk about her work and its relation to bodies and space. This talk was particularly geared toward the workshop Extended Me, whom she later invite back, amongst others, to her studio and even take them fishing on her own boat! Text: Hugo Lamont & Billy Mooney Photo: Jurrien van Djuikeren [NL]

Dorothy Cross

Dorothy Cross is one of Ireland’s pre-eminent artists and is known worldwide for her challenging (at times uncomfortably so) and diverse work ranging in media from sculpture to photography, video and installation. Born in Cork in 1956, she now both lives and work in Tully, near Letterfrack; her new studio was recently designed and built by McCullough Mulvin Architects. She came to widespread attention and acclaim when she began a series of works featuring cow skins and cows’ udders. In her art she amalgamates found and constructed objects. These assemblages invariably have the effect of reinvigorating the lives of everyday things, sometimes humorous, sometimes disturbing, always intellectually stimulating and physically arresting. Her most recent work employs the revelatory and voyeuristic traits of video and photography, combining these with sculptural work, to play with what is at risk, on hold, erotic and curious.

Dorothy has had numerous solo exhibitions including a largescale retrospective at The Irish Museum of Modern Art in 2005. Her work is included in many public and private collections worldwide, including the ArtPace Foundation, Texas and the Tate Modern. Her enthusiasm and her willingness to get involved were a real fillip to the organisers; she is a tremendously charismatic woman and had a strong impact on those participants who met her. Following her lecture early in our stay in Letterfrack, she made herself available to a couple of workshops, even bringing them to her studio and out swimming. This is really above and beyond the call of duty, especially given the fact that she is not especially tied-up with architecture or architects. What a lady!


Michael Gibbons Michael Gibbons’ professional life as an archaeologist began with a year with the Museum of London, part of his university training. “I was able to work on some important excavations in London, including St Bart’s Hospital and Cannon Street Station. The Museum of London is the best in the world and gave me the best possible grounding in the techniques and methodology of archaeology. It was a joy to work with them at such a high level among world leaders.” Coming back to Ireland, he then landed his ‘dream job’. He headed up the Connemara field team undertaking the Galway Archaeological Survey. “I’d been developing a sort of instinct for finding archaeological features,” he said. “All through university I had been making finds here in Connemara through my contact with local farmers.” Michael was later chosen to be Director of the National Survey Programme, an appointment which came about because of his experience at home and abroad - and because he was successful. From offices in Dublin, his new, ten strong team pioneered new surveying techniques, including vertical aerial photography. “It was a fabulous team – very creative and with lots of government funding.”

Professor Maria Pinto-Coelho Prof Coelho first contacted us from out of the ether, informing us of who she was, her involvement in the organisation of EASA 1983 (held in Lisbon) as well as her intention to get involved with EASA 2008. Since her days of summer assemblies, she had moved on in her studies to become an expert in the field of architectural lighting, and it was this knowledge of hers which she wanted to bring to Letterfrack. Her visit consisted of an opening seminar on lighting, followed by visits to particular workshops (most notable Lightscapes). All of these activities were further to the supply of lighting equipment she had sourced for the event.

5.0 Workshops Choosing which workshops would go ahead was one of the most difficult and time consuming of the organiser’s jobs, simply because the standard was so high. We had initially set ourselves a limit of 20 workshops: we felt that workshops needed at least 15-20 participants to be successful. However, the standard and diversity of proposals - almost 60 - forced our hand to allowing 23. There were simply too many good workshops to leave out, which is a credit to the tutors who proposed them. Text: Billy Mooney Photo: Ceren Kilic [TK]

Laura Mays

Laura Mays is a furniture designer who once studied at, and now teaches at, GMIT Letterfrack Furniture College. She initially came in the first week to talk about her work, but upon the request of some tutors she returned in the second week to help some workshops (ie Small Interventions, Too Cool for Stool) with the design, construction and detailing of some of the more developed pieces.

Rosaleen Coneys

A local weaver by trade, her involvement was particularly geared towards the workshop Designing the Inevitable, however as with all contributors, her skills were open to all participants and workshops. Her activities included a seminar on weaving including some of her own work, inviting participants to her workshop and introducing the tutors of Designing the Inevitable to Joe Hogan, who supplied them with a generous amount of wicker.

Architects Sans Frontiéres


The tutors of HUM:ARC [Inari Virkaala, Ashild Aagren and Noora Aaltonen] invited two architects from Architects Sans Frontiéres to speak on humanitarian and disaster-relief architecture. Architects Sans Frontiéres is a Non-Governmental Organisation which shares a similar ethos to the more well-known Medecins Sans Frontiérs. They are involved with assisting other humanitarian efforts in refugee camps and war-torn communities by providing knowledge and expertise in constructing temporary shelters and infrastructure facilties. They gave a very well-received open lecture at Letterfrack and then acted as visiting tutors to the HUM:ARC workshop.

workshop has specific sponsors and this is something we would strongly advocate and might even give cause for bringing back the deadline for workshop selections. The management of the workshops can be broken into three different stages:

Workshop Application and Selection Second only to location and theme, workshop selection is paramount in terms of giving form to the nature and result of an EASA. Deciding from the outset that we wanted to push the quality of workshops, we put in place several changes in the structure of EASA so as to reap a larger harvest of workshop applicants. These changes included creating three tutorpacks, counting tutors as separate from a nations quota of participants and reducing the fee for tutors to 50% of their respective nations fees. Needless to say this also attracted a number of shoddy applications from people who just wanted a free ticket, yet luckily enough these applications are easy enough to spot. Potential tutors had to complete our application form and submit a poster and any other graphics they so wished in order to submit their workshop for approval. Out of the 60 workshop applications we received (this number would have no doubt been even larger where it not the competition we hosted as well) we ended up selecting 21 workshops to accompany our three predetermined workshops – Green Room, Lunch Box and Flux Culture. Unfortunately due to problems on behalf of the tutors, the workshop aDABtation was pulled before the event, giving us a final number of 23 workshops.


These are the real meat of an assembly. They are the place where lessons are taught and learned, the back-drop to social encounters, the thing which will get participants up early have them working late, the reason why lunch is served with breakfast, the generator of all materials lists, the things that made the whole damn mess and the things everyone wants to see. A typical workshop is run from 1-4 tutors who work alongside with a number of participants ranging from 2-25 as decided by the organisation committee. The programme for the event dictates the number of working days for the workshops, our number of working days was 9, and that increases to 10 if you factor for workshops that chose to work on the day set aside for excursions. And, much like any congregation of 400 young intellects from Europe, workshops come in a variety of sizes, shapes, colours, flavours and means. A lot of the most enjoyable facets of an EASA or experiential, that is to say transitory. Workshops stand as the physical manifest of lessons learnt, ideas hatched and the time spent of the tutors and participants. Furthermore they are the visual hook for those outside of EASA – lecturers, supporters, helpers, institutions and most importantly sponsors. As organisers it requires quite a lot of contemplation and foresight to successfully facilitate the workshops before, during and after the event. For example, two of our

Of our final selection about 60% were straight away winners, with the remainder being judicially decided amongst the organising team. With there being legitimate reasons for pushing built/media/abstract/theory workshops, we decided the fairest approach would be to strike a broad enough datum that could, in the very least, cater for the varying tastes of 300 participants.

Tutor Correspondence For us, there was a little under four months for back-and-forth correspondence between ourselves and the tutors. To be fair, some workshops are fairly autonomous and easy to predict what they might require. Other workshops did require a lot of preEASA management and this was either due to the unrealistic scale/ambition of some workshops, or as a result of a lack of information and a lack of identifiable competence on behalf of the respective tutors. During this period tutors will need to be informed about standard material specifications and sizes, availability of materials, working locations, potential spaces for interventions, and the availability of skilled technicians/craftsmen etc. Some weeks before the event we released all of this information in our document Tutorpack 2.0. We also found that we had to quell some of the sillier ideas from the some of the tutors, as well as the tendency for some tutors to forget about EASA amidst their exams and holidays, something to be very much fought against. In the end though, what’s important is that both the organisation team and the tutors have an understanding of the workshops’ activities before the event begins. To this end, one main organiser was assigned the position of ‘workshop guy’ to liase with all of the workshops, outside of the three pre-determined ones.


Workshops The workshops are not only vital to the success of the Summer Assembly where they are carried out, but also to the organisation and future Assemblies: sponsors react extremely favourably to well-carried out, welldocumented and well-presented workshops, and each year the uphill struggle for sponsorship is renewed in the next host country. Beyond EASA, it’s always great to have something a little different that you’ve enjoyed working on and are passionate about in your portfolio. Photo: Roland Nemeth [HU]

Workshop Management Before and After the Assembly During the assembly several responsibilities fell to the workshops team – material supply and provision, tool/equipment supply and provision AND supervision, planning workshop events with tutors, securing locals permission for installations and more. As there was already in-place the role of ‘workshop guy’, it was a easy transition for that person to become manager of the workshops team, with two or three revolving helpers. As it transpired, tutors were very pleased with this system of having one clear and identifiable person to liase – a noted improvement on previous years. Most workshops ran relatively smoothly, thanks in a huge way to the Letterfrack Hardware who supplied many of the items we had forgotten to supply ourselves. Further material runs were subject to a trip Galway, the nearest major city, which unavoidably meant tutors had to wait at least one or two days. One thing to always be watchful for is material theft, basically tutors stealing materials clearly marked for other workshops. This is as regrettable as it is likely, and very disappointing considering that tutors know better and will complain for pretty much the whole day if somebody does it to them. Tutor meetings were a good platform to tackle the above mentioned issues, and in the end we had two tutors meeting and two joint tutor/NC meetings. One thing which was poorly handled was the fact that tools, stationary and materials were placed in three separate locations – and we would strongly suggest to future organisers to consider creating one big depot to store everything.

Key Workshop Dates 2007.11.09 2008.03.23 2008.04.04 2008.07.16 2008.08.01 2008.08.11 2008.08.23

Release of tutorpacks Workshop submissions deadline Workshops selected Release of tutorpack 2.0 Workshops promotional poster deadline Workshop Fair Final exhibition and presentation



Tutor: Dermot Ryan [IRL]

Tutor’s Description Construction and research workshop exploring the use of straw-bale construction techniques. Photo: Varoslav Yakovlev [UA]

Focusing on strawbale construction techniques, this workshop turned out to be a surprise permanent pavilion. The final result of the workshop was a bird watching shelter located in Connemara National Park. The disastrous weather conditions coupled with the necessity for dry weather conditions when working with bales meant we initially had some misgivings about the potential success of this workshop. However, these adverse conditions were no match for the tutor, the participants, the determination and the very visible camaraderie of Adapt-a-bale. We cannot stress enough how munificent the Connemara National Park was in terms of providing a location as well as daily transporting of people and materials and taking on the post-EASA work of applying lime-render to weatherproof the bales. From our point of view it was really positive to give back to Letterfrack in as many meaningful ways as we could.


Festival architecture, and the effects of mass temporary influxes of people into rural areas were the topics of the discourse of this workshop. The end result of the workshop was a built pavilion which performed as a seating area as well as a covered lit walkway. In terms of participant involvement and engagement this workshop stands as a great example – participants engaged in the full remit of discussion, research, sketching, model making, mockups and a final 1:1 built end product.

Tutors: Justyna Juchimuik [PL], Michal Golanski [PL], Anna Sochocka [PL]

Tutors’ Description What, where and why is festival space? Adapt-a-lab workshop was divided into three stages: - analytical and theoretical part, - creation and designing, - practical and hand-made Using the rural landscape as inspiration, mountain slope as natural auditory, landscape view as a background, we examined individual and mass needs during the festival according to Maslov’s Pyramid of Human Needs. For every need there is an architectural solution: the end of the week task was to design the festival structure.

Tutor’s Description Exploration of weaving techiques and craft – a continuation of Sophia Sturge’s basket-making tradition in Letterfrack.

Photo: Sasa Grucic [SLO]


Tutors: Jerica Suverle [SLO] and Sasha Grucic [SLO]

Designing the Inevitable This workshop was a discourse in weaving in architecture, picking up on the history of the technique in the area. The technique was explored through small experimental pieces, items of furniture and finally a house shaped installation in a meadow (installed in concert with work from the Lightscapes workshop). The materials used varied from rubber cords and bands to fabric, wires and cables, rope, wicker and even bin liner bags. This workshop was aided by the involvement of Rosaleen Coneys, materials from Joe Hogan and construction work from David Beirne – former student of GMIT Letterfrack furniture college.


Tutor’s Description An investigation of natural and artificial light through installations in the Connemara landscape.

Photo: Ceren Kiliç [TK]

Lightscapes Light was, rather unsurprisingly, the main focus and material of this workshop. Starting with small experiments made from cereal boxes, the workshop ended up with a series of 1:1 built installations, or lighthouses, which showed the properties of natural light during the day, and the effects of artificial lighting during the night. Some of these installations were located at a nearby lake which meant from on our behalf transporting the construactions, whilst also removing the experience of the lighting effects from the rest of the EASA par ticipants. Ultimately though, the location was well selected, as seen in the photographs. This workshop was aided by the involvement of Prof. Coelho and the material sponsorship of Crescent Lighting Co.

Tutors: Rune Boserup [DK] & Steffen Impgaard pedersen [DK]

Too Cool For Stool

Hosting the assembly in a furniture college inevitably meant that certain would be furniture orientated – cue Too Cool For Stool, A stool making workshop aimed at mixing traditional Balkan stool making with Irish techniques. All stools were made with no metal fixings or pieces and were made with either OSB, MDF or Oak. Perhaps limited in variation and scale, the stools served as a colourful and oftentimes useful addition to the EASA camp, and some were brought home by the Belarussians!


Tutors: Alexsandr Popovic [SER] & Mirjana Uzonovic [SER]

Tutors: Iva Marcetic [CRO] & Pavle Stamenovic [SER]

Adopt The Green

A research workshop where participants explored the effects of diverse scales on a rural village such as Letterfrack. From a theoretical stance this workshop resonated strongly with the theme for our event – {adaptation}. Potential scenarios were discussed and explored through small-scale artistic endeavours. This workshop was aided by the material sponsorship of Office Depot.


Light & Space

Tutors: Daniel Domolky [HU], Sandor Lilienberg [HU] & Anders Csiszer [HU]

The name says it all. Participants were required to use model making as a medium to explore light and space. These models were photographed, scale was added through photoshop and participants were to create their own A2 poster showcasing the work they undertook during the assembly. There was an emphasis on high quality photos and high quality building materials, many of which were sponsored by Modulor.

Tutors’ Description Exploration of light and space, with lectures, model-making, digital modeling and photography exercises.

Photo: Sandor Lilienberg [HU]


Small Interventions ‘Small Interventions’ was by far the most common type of workshop application we received. Needless to say not all could be picked, and selecting this workshop was a no-brainer as the workshop and the tutor had proven their mettle many times before – not that we would ever advocate preferential selection – and neither failed to deliver during EASA 2008. The ethos of this workshop is to design and build small pieces which, when put in place, would serve to benefit the lives of people in very subtle and intelligent ways. There is a focus on good detailing, yet the most important product is the realisation on the participants’ behalf that they can actually make something of their own design. The final interventions include a swinging seat with accompanying hanging book case, phone booth accessories, a waiting platform for thirsty punters and the conversion of a wall into a walkway.

Tutors’ Description Design and one-to-one realisation of small but useful interventions that will address the context and benefit the community.

Photo: Arvid Wolfel [GER]


Material Adaptable Jouer

This workshop was an exploration of material properties through both digital and physical experiments. The material of choice was cardboard – which was initially tested in small scale models by the participants. Digital modelling was carried out in the software package Rhino, a format which allowed for the easy manipulation of parameters of the model.

Tutors: Fillipo Lodi [IT] & Kyriakos Chatzyparaskevas [GR]

The final installation was first modelled in Rhino, and then made real - a hanging sculturing going from the ground to a overheard stairwell. This workshop was aided by the material sponsorship of Smurfit Kappa.

Similar enough to Small Interventions, this workshop focused on creating additions/interventions/pieces which would be of benefit to the participants of EASA and help with site amelioration. Adaptors are XS structures designed and built during the assembly further to analysis of the EASA camp and participants needs. Final pieces included playful sculptures and a mock beach to remind people of the never seen sun.

Make Your Adaptor

Tutors: Julie Bart [FR] & Heloise Cousin

rep Tutors: Jurrien van Djuikeren [NL] & Inara Nevskaya [RU]

The best way to describe would be through the tutors’ own words “A research/intervention workshop in three steps: identification of patterns found in local crafts, design or architecture, reinterpretation into patterns of modern recycled materials. Presented on a large scale room divider as 3D wallpaper or decorative cladding solutions.”

pp repp

This workshop had three large panels (2m x 2m) constructed before the assembly, which had metal panels applied to one side by the local blacksmith John Mortimer. Magnets were used to create experimental pieces of the metallic side, whereas the timber face played host to the final graphics which reflected local wall building and bog cutting techniques. This workshop was aided by the work of John Mortimer and the material sponsorship of Forbo.


Tutors’ Description Exploring the nomad as an architectural methodology, participants will design and build a component system for flexible, interactive, fun and beautiful structures.

Photo: Arvid Wolfel [GER]

Nomadic Instamatic

Using the nomad as an architectural methodology, several components were created and moved to various locations to document how they would react to their new surroundings, whilst also leaving no trace behind in their old environs. Work ranged from discussion, to model making, to the building of 1:1 components and finally to the ‘dot….to….dot’ event. This event involved a large amount of participants carrying the components up into the national park, occasionally stooping to set up camp and enjoy some ‘refreshments’. One of the worst ill-effects of the rain was that it forced participants to work indoors, rendering the site almost innocent of energy or activity during working hours. As organisers, it was great to see workshops like this brave the elements and still produce an excellent workshop.

Tutors: Paul Farrell [UK] & Georg-Christoph Holz [GER]


Lunch Box

Connemara West had expressed interest in some sort of permanent pavilion from an early stage. This tied in nicely with our hopes for a lasting testimony to EASA in Letterfrack and indeed Ireland. There had been talk of a covered outdoor space as a focal point for summer events, but the brief had never become anymore defined than that. Given the location and skills available at an EASA, this pavilion would also be built in timber. With this in mind we decided to put it to a group of young Irish architects to lead the workshop. You might call this insider-trader, but we had already launched the ‘Green Room’ competition in Europe and felt that we needed close contact and control to successfully realise this pavilion. It would also be vital that the tutors be familiar with the sensitive environs of Letterfrack. In late February Dermot Reynolds, Ronan Costelloe and Joe MacMahon were asked to take on the challenge. Outside of the vague aforementioned parameters, it was a carte blanche in terms of design. All three were close friends with member s of the organising team throughout college, so we knew they had the capability! Having agreed to take it on, they developed up their ideas outside of office hours and by early April had worked up a series of prototype models, drawings and sketches.

David O’Flynn of Ecocem was extremely generous in giving us three cubic meters of XXXXX concrete in partnership with McGraths Quarries in Cong, Co.Galway. This would go towards ground works, which need to be complete no less than five days in advance of taking fixings. Through a timber haulier, we tracked down a set of glulam members which were lying fallow in a warehouse in Limerick following the closure of a factory. Although a bit old and superficially scruffed, they were still very much structurally sound as C24 class timbers. This allowed us to acquire the superstructure for a third of the originally quoted price. Pat Rynn Engineering made up three large galvanised steel shoes to hold the uprights. Thanks must go to Colombo and his men for getting the work done on time and at a very reasonable price.

Ronan’s father is a master cabinet maker who runs a workshop in Kilkenny. He enabled the lads to built a 1:50 timber model which would act as our three-legged seductress going into meetings with sponsors, consultants and the clients, Connemara West. We would also generate all our 3D images using it.

Bauder had been in talks with the organisers for a number of months previously. They were keen to showcase their sedum roofing system as a means of justifying any financial contribution. When the location for the pavilion eventually fell into place it would suit well that people could enjoy the green roof from the upper storeys of the courtyard.

Having established a design, we approached engineers Casey O’Rourke and Associates, as one of Ireland’s most progressive engineering firms. Their enthusiasm and positivity towards the scheme was tremendous and in the end John Pigott, XXXXX, fully designed and specified our foundations, ironmongery and superstructure on a completely voluntary basis. We are hugely grateful to John and CORA for this.

Scaffold Elevation, our scaffolders for the accommodation tents had kindly agreed to erect the necessary platforms for the construction of the pavilion. With quotes to hand for the substantial number of bolts, screws, nails, joist hangers and plates required, a supplier for the timber cladding was the only remaining item to be sourced. We held a position of falsely assumed security for nearly the entire lead-in period. Having approached a supplier in February and been received with enthusiasm we felt we would always be able to come to some agreement for the

The main components of the pavilion were now clear and after a bit of persecution, the organisers had a specification list with which to approach sponsors.



Tutors’ Description The workshop demanded a lot of preparation and groundwork. Members of EASA Ireland were working during July to lay foundations, a time-consuming exercise but one utterly vital to the long-term success of the pavilion.

Photo: Paddy Roche [IRL]

acquisition of this timber. Regretfully, the supplier dwindled >>> for two months before pulling out of the project entirely two weeks before EASA.

Thankfully we avoided a near implosion by quickly resourcing the timber from James McMahon building supplier. They agreed and delivered to us 670m of 6”x3” and 1100m of 2”x3” of pressure treated, protim dipped ‘white deel’ over the course of the build, in a totally uncomplicated fashion. The sponsorship mission pushed on, while in Letterfrack, Connemara West were still unsure whether they wanted this pavilion at all. Initially there were two sites put forward for consideration and the scheme measured up as a 6 metre cube. Our first few sorties into the boardroom were met with a degree of indignation. There were reservations over scale, site and function, the first two of which were absolutely justified. Function-wise it was necessary to convey the sculptural and spacial merits of the pavilion in order to offset it’s unobvious practicality and use. Once again Janet O’Toole was our bastion of support during the tough early meetings; “i’m sure we could grow to like it”, was the glimmer that kept us at it in June. The July board meeting was our last opportunity to get the green light.

The courtyard was settled as the location. A 1:500 context model was build to accompany an A1 presentation board, which included sketches, drawings, 3D montages, a landscaping proposal and an indication of a gating system to alleviate concerns over it becoming a gathering space for antisocial youths. On Thursday the 24th of July a presentation was made to the Board of Connemara West. Having dealt with the concerns over scale and location, the Board came around and to our massive relief the pavilion got the go ahead! The last remaining obstacles at this point were the three dilapidated prefabs situated in the courtyard. The phrase ‘last-minute’ would describe almost every stage of this project and the prefab removal was no different, excavations were being dug and scaffolding erected as the last prefab shell was craned out by the very agreeable Michael Long. With all the components to hand, we required professional expertise and supervision to lay the foundations and erect the glulam superstructure. A DIT graduate and Cork man with considerably more site experience than an architect should have at 27 came down to oversee the ground works. And it was thanks to Cormac Murphy that this phase went off extremely well. Mattie O’Malley of O’Malley Timber in Willford, Co.Galway very kindly prepared all the glulams offsite and transported them to Letterfrack in time for erection on Wednesday the 12th of August, at which point the workshop team had assembled. Mattie, the tutors and the participants got through an awesome amount of work to erect the entire frame on that first day, in torrential weather conditions. In many ways this set the pace for all of the workshops as the most central and visible piece on campus, providing a lift in what was an extremely tough couple of days in the rain. >>>

Tutors: Dermot Reynolds [IRL], Ronan Costelloe [IRL] & Joe MacMahon [IRL]

Hard at work One of the most encouraging and important aspects of the workshop was the drive that tutors and participants showed in the early days in Letterfrack. The weather was absolutely appalling, but everyone in the workshop was up and hard at work. It showed everybody else that the weather was no excuse for skipping workshops: these guys were out in the rain, doing hard physical work all day. Most people had it a good deal easier than them, so it was a reminder that it was important just to get down and do it.


The workshop tutors lead their spirited and committed participants extremely well, with Dermot as the ever present director of proceedings. None of the three tutors had ever attended an EASA, but they seemed to adjust well to the environment, representing well both on and off site. Sven Haberman, David Beirne and our friends at Letterfrack Conservation Center, came in and put drips on about 400 metres of timber, which was immensely helful and important. Further injections of manpower from Mattie and Cormac ‘Nail Gun’ Murphy were crucial in getting it over the line. A late rally from an expanded team saw the pavilion completed and the site cleared in time for the final dinner and presentation. For everyone involved this was a massively ambitious and rewarding workshop. Although the relief of getting all the bits and pieces ready for the Assembly may have felt like the pavilion was bound for immanent completion - it was far from the case. This was a massively labour intensive build, and for 24, largely unskilled people to complete the pavilion on time, was extraordinary.


Special thanks (participants names) Dermot, Ronan and Joe Cormac Murphy Mattie O’Malley Sven and David Charles Lynch (Galway County and City Enterprise board) David O’Flynn (Ecocem) Keith (McGraths Quarries) XXXXXXXXXXX (James McMahon Ltd.) Francie Thornton (Bauder) Basil (Galway Fastner Centre) Columbo (Pat Rynn Engineering

Tutors’ Description Construction of a pavilion inspired by the writings of Franz Kafka. Spatial, acoustic, visual and tactile sensation will disorientate the user.

Photo: Dijana Omeragic [FYROM]


By far one of the more original and authentic workshop entries, Kraktka was a workshop selection which in no way disappointed. To goal of Kraftke was to build a pavilion which would embody an architecture of disorientation, provocation, “the use of absurdity in a way to change people’s perception” and other feelings relevant to the work of Kafka. The workshop was split into three groups, which meant we had to provide a number of different working locations for Kraftka. The construction team took care of, well, construction. The TV/DVD crew made short loop movies based on the themes of claustrophobia and agoraphobia whilst the technology team worked on LEDs, photo sensors and circuit boarding – luckily one of the tutors had a working knowledge of circuitry which meant this aspect work autonomously and not demand much from ourselves. Kraftka was a bland of construction, theory, mood, ambiance and a side of technology not seen often enough with EASA workshops.


Tutors: Dijana Omeragic [FYROM], Chris Maloney [UK] & Gizem Candemir [TK]



This was by far one of the best built workshops at EASA 2008, or any other EASA, frankly! The huge ambition of the workshop was met with an equal measure of work ethic, determination and capability on behalf of the tutors and participants. Zauna was a built and fully functioning sauna, complete with chimney, stove, cedar cladding, insulation, waterproof membranes, ventilated cavities and structural frame. The Zauna is also of adequate size and shape to be transported on the back of a flatbed truck. From an organisers point of view this was at times a troublesome workshop, and a slight risk as a choice as we had already taken on several large scale built works. There was a constant backand-forth relay of information between ourselves and the tutors, discussing materials and forever trying to reduce the scale and ambition of the workshop (the original was twice the size and made with a steel frame). Even during the assembly there were gripes over added material costs, these were compounded by the fact that Zauna was a very, very expensive workshop. However the quality of the final work made it all worth-while. This workshop was aided by the material sponsorship of McMahon building suppliers and Irish Hardwoods.

Tutors: Frederik de Smedt [BEL] Nil Aynali [TK] Eros Laini [IT] Alper Deringboraz [TK]


Flux Culture Thinktank Ronan McCann

There is a movement of people in Europe - individuals and families relocate from country to country, city to city, in pursuit of their version of happiness - be it climate, security, education, society or material wealth. There is a new culture of movement and migration made possible by open borders, market conditions and advances in transportation. There is a population constantly in flux – there is a flux culture.


Flux Culture is the title of an experimental workshop for 26 participants that will be organised by EASA Ireland, instructed and managed by Ronan Mc Cann, but led by the participants themselves. This thinktank aims to deal with an issue that effects people all over greater Europe. The effects of Immigration and Emigration on our nation states are well documented, our seminar aims to deal with the effects of this phenomenon on the built environment: our regions, cities, neighbourhoods and buildings, from the point of view of young academics in the fields of architecture and urbanism. In Dublin, the group will view first-hand the positive contributions immigrant populations have made to urban life and discuss the problems such communities encounter. In Connemara the participants will research, discuss and debate the phenomenon. The participants will address the issue at a variety of scales. On a macro-European level, the group will look at areas of in and out-migration generating new maps of understanding in the process. At the scale of the city, participants will develop new frameworks and investigate the possibility of new typologies as they examine the new migratory lifestyles of many Europeans.

The participants of Flux Culture were: Mark Campbell (UK); Umit Mesci & Derya Aguday (Turkey); Kristin Magnberg (Germany); Tinatin Gurgenidze (Georgia); Francesco Javier Rodriguez Perez & Victoria Labadie (Spain); Elisa Maceratini, Vito Leonardo Del Negro, Paolo Murmura, Virginia Lombrici and Andrea Bentivenga (Italy); Erhan Oze (Cyprus); Hilla Maria Rudanko and Lennart Lang (Finland); Loosy Davoodian (Armenia); Gleb Vitov and Nadia Kulakova (Russia); Ross Millaney, Laura Collins, Leanne Martin & David Walsh (Ireland); Edwin Gardner (Netherlands); Christina Boss Mortenson (Denmark); Elsa Deconchat (France); Elena Antonopoulou (Greece).

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

Tutors’ Description An exploration of the very basic relation between body and space, challenging conventional beliefs of how the surroundings adapt to the body and vice versa.


Photo: Roland Nemeth [HU]


he theory of the workshop was to alter the standard module of architecture, the human body, so as to document the resultant change in architecture.

This process involved the creation of prosthetics, devices which altered ones perception of the world and placing the body in situations alien to it. Working a lot with Dorothy Cross, the workshop produced a number of surprising and exciting contraptions and occurances. Extended Me was an extremely hardworking and well-run workshop which produced extensive work while actively teaching participants new skills and improving their existing skills through one-on-one tutelage. Deemed by all to be a very successful workshop, which was pleasing to know considering a lot of was lost on the organising team.

Extended Me

Tutors: Tine Bernstorff Aagaard [DK], Emilie Bergrem [NO]

TELEology Teleology describes the process of looking for the evidence of design in the world. This workshop dealt with film making: participants were required to take part in 24 hour movie making tasks all the while recording a documentary of EASA and the creative processes of the workshop. Shot on a HD camera, the excellent footage captured very measured sides of the assembly. This workshop was aided by the sponsorship of Apple and Final Cut Pro.


Tutors: John Murray [IRL] & Gary Gallagher [IRL]


HUM:ARC ‘Design like you give a damn’ was the mantra for this workshop which focused on humanitarian architecture. This workshop focused and research and discussion and its tools for exploring the topic. Several ‘glocal’ coffee breaks were hosted during the assembly, offering participants a platform to express their views. It must be noted that this workshop had a very small subscription in terms of participants, only 4, however these coffee were forever packed – such was the draw of the topic, and no doubt something must be said for the presence of Brian Anson at many of these discussions.

Tutors: Inari Virkaala [FIN], Noora Aaltonen [FIN] & Ashild Aagren [FIN]

Tutors’ Description

A workshop that seeks to address humanitarian issues through architecture, producing an exhibition, documentation or any plausible media that will raise awareness of critical issues.

HUM:ARC Final Presentation Panel, left


Tutors: Kotryna Sokolovaite [LT], Marten Dashorst [NL] & Alkistis Thomidou [GR]

The longest running workshop of EASA, Umbrella is an in-house media outlet for spreading the news and events of EASA to all participants. 2008 marked the most ambitious year for Umbrella, taking on the three facets of TV, radio and print.


Scath Bรกisti was a daily bulletin sheet containing news, stories, interviews and weather forcasts. EASATV was a bidaily broadcast containing funny shorts and in depth looks at workshops. EASA Radio was originally intended to be a full-time radio broadcast, however this aspect of Umbrella was closed early due a lack of sufficient infrastructure and interest in the workshop. This was most regrettable and due in-part to our misinforming the tutor at an early stage. Thanks must be given to Connemara Community Radio who allowed us to play a 15 segment over the airways everyday.


rchitectural Answers to the Digital Revolution A research/discussion/theory based workshop aimed at proposing answers and solutions to problems thrown up by the digital revolution. Issues of a humane level related to architecture and the built relam, such as isolation, community, networks etc, were offered through the adaptive re-use of older models or the creative invention of new ones. This workshop was aided by the material sponsorship of Modulor.

Tutor: Luis Hilti [CH]

Tutors’ Description Research workshop addressing the digitalisation of our world and in particular the architectural profession - exploring both the potential and the pitfalls.


The Green Room When we first approached the competition, we did so with a traditional EASA approach to have a built pavilion, a lasting testament to the event. As the project developed, we came to the agreement that while we want to build a pavilion in Letterfrack, we didn’t want the design to be subject to a competition. The unique setting of Connemara is difficult to convey through a brief, and in any case we didn’t have the human resources to develop a detailed design in the short time period we had left.

Tutors An exploration of the very basic relation between body and space, challenging conventional beliefs of how the surroundings adapt to the body and vice versa.

Photo: Roland Nemeth [HU]

This agreement did not detract for the opinion that we should run a competition. The competition was set up as a carrot to attract sponsors into supporting EASA, whether directly or indirectly through the competition itself. Running concurrently to the organisation of EASA was the planning of the Passive and Low Energy Architecture (PLEA) International conference, scheduled to take place at UCD the October following EASA. It was agreed with the co-ordinators of the conference that the pavilion would be put on display outside the event hall and a small presentation was to be made as part of the conference. The brief was established for a learning space for primary students as it is very topical issue in Ireland due to the dreadful spatial conditions of many schools throughout the country. We also used the competition to promote a ‘green’ angle on the theme of ‘adaptation’, something which was necessary in an increasingly eco-aware society. The Green Room instantly became one of the hot cakes on our shopping list of events, workshops that sponsors could put their name to. We persisted with a sponsorship of €10,000 which we received graciously from Dublin Docklands, with the condition that the pavilion would be put on display in the docklands after EASA. The Brief was set out by the EASA organising team and the opening date set as 15th of January. We did not want to delay with the release of the brief, as it was one of our key priorities as we started into 2008. The brief itself was set out in a very simple and legible way so as to maximise the understanding of what we wanted to achieve.

One month before the registration deadline on the 18 of March, we stepped up our press drive and the Green Room featured on many news segments, including Mark Magazine’s website and practically every architecture competition website on the web. We received 133 completed registration forms giving some extra days for late registrants. Overall, we received 53 competition entries. We received numerous questions, most notably a conversion with one Reachious Smith [formerly know as Reaching Smith] from China. Tutors: Gustav Backstrom [SWE] Anders Malmberg [SWE] & Conor O’Brien [IRL]

“This is my first try, but I have a lot of sweep there, so don’t never say I’m not try my best. Some details have been omitted for their weired [sic] functions that occured in my mind during my design period. So, I just want it to be architecture concerned to the extent possible.” Most of the questions were legitimate and the questions and answers were posted on the website. Adjudication took place as promised within two weeks of the competition deadline. The jury eventual chose ‘WYSIWYG’ as the winner. From the jury report: “The winning proposal conveys an invaluable, technology-free lesson to its users; this is the understanding of a building’s layers and their bearing on a buildings internal environment. It pulls open the ‘traditional wall’ for everyone to see and touch. This idea alone may seem austere and unexciting, but the concept has been enlivened with the use of a series of fun and clever interactive devices.


Many of the components have more than one job within the room. This raises the argument for small numbers of polyfunctional elements against larger numbers of monofunctional ones, as a more successful means of realising good passive architecture. The purpose of heat retaining thermal mass can be a difficult concept to grasp as it’s a slow and subtle process. The judges felt that teachers could quite easily illustrate this process in this room. “WYSIWYG” also breaks the footprint of the freight trailer by proposing an assembly of transportable parts, the construction of which is unquestionably feasible during a EASA.” After informing the winning proposal, the team set about to develop a framework plan for the detailed design of the pavilion. This was always going

to be difficult as we never managed to get personnel working solely on the competition as desired. Anders, one of the competition winners, made a brave decision to take on the project as the practical part of his thesis and flew over to Ireland at the beginning of July to develop the design up to construction level.

Sourcing Materials Fine tuning the design – A decision was reached among the team to replace the inner pavilion with a yurt, a traditional Mongolian nomadic tent structure. Considerable effort went into consulting yurt builders in Ireland about the possibility of running a smaller yurt building workshop within the larger ‘Green Room’ workshop. However, due to the busy time of year and the relative short notice none of those approached were in a position to carry out the workshop.

Workshop Planning The important thing with the planning of the workshops is that each task is set down before the workshop starts up. With some many little jobs and disparate pieces involved in the Green Room, factor in some time delays and management teething problems.

Workshop Execution One of the major delays getting the workshop off the ground in the first day was that not all of the timber had arrived on site due to no fault of our own. Huge effort goes into sourcing and delivering materials on site before everyone arrives. In some cases, it is a wasted effort as the material may not even be used due to an unforeseen change in direction of a particular workshop. However, this was not the case with the Green Room as it was primary construction material involved. Looking back at it now, if the order went in the week before it did, a lot of unnecessary stress would have been avoided. As of time of print, The Green Room has been successfully used by the Primary School Children at Letterfrack Primary School. It is now resident at the UCD School of Architecture were it will be assembled for the PLEA conference in October.

EASA008 Final Report Volume 1  
EASA008 Final Report Volume 1  

easa | ireland | 2008