The Dublin Architecture Guide, 1937-2021
Paul Kelly, Cormac Murray and Brendan Spierin
“The book is helpfully divided up by location and yet avoids the conventional binary north-south divide, with all its socio-economic implications.”
The Dublin Architecture Guide, 1937-1938 is a compact and beautifully organised curation of the city’s rich and diverse array of modern architecture. As the authors – all Dublin-based architects – write in their preface, the buildings selected for feature are presented in as objective a manner as possible; they want to show them as they are in situ, not as they were in blueprint, never mind filtered through the enhancements of photo-editing software.
The book is helpfully divided up by location and yet avoids the conventional binary north-south divide, with all its socio-economic implications. The buildings chosen also serve a wide spectrum of purposes, from residential properties, to universities, to commercial centres.
Some are celebrated, while others are notorious for how they divide opinion, both public and professional: the former Central Bank; Paul Koralek’s award-winning Berkeley Library at Trinity College; the pioneering Busáras, to name but a few.
Each building featured is accompanied by a brief description that avoids overt critical commentary. The reader-viewer can be the judge.
As the authors make clear in their afterword, the built environment is at the heart of some of the most pressing problems facing us as a society and indeed as a species. Architecture will be crucial to delivering a sustainable and liveable city for all.
Guides like this can only help.
Words: Luke Warde