DARC Space – Dublin’s New Architecture Gallery


Located on North Great George’s Street and situated in the cultural quarter of the north inner city, the new DARC (Dublin Architecture) Space will open its doors on Friday 9 October 2009 as part of the annual Open House Dublin weekend. Denis Byrne Architects have created this new gallery space in the award-winning Cigar Box building as a vibrant hub for exhibitions, talks and debates on contemporary architecture. The current economic downturn has been identified as an opportune time for rethinking and repositioning the Irish construction sector towards more sustainable development and DARC will host a series of exhibitions and events to broaden this debate.

The theme of the gallery’s first exhibition is BECOMING, tracing the evolution of international competition-winning projects – from the nearly completed Wexford County Hall by Nord Architecture to projects at various stages of realisation including the Giant’s Causeway Visitor Centre by Heneghan Peng; Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Library and Cutural Centre by Carr Cotter Naessens Architects and the recently announced West Cork Arts Centre by Donaghy + Dimond Architects. “Although so much hard work will have been invested, winning a competition could actually prove to be the easier part”, explains architect Denis Byrne, whose practice is represented in the show with the about-to-be-realised Bord Gais Networks Services Centre in Finglas, Dublin. “What follows after the competition announcement, is a complex journey where the original idea is severely tested”, says Byrne. Many of these competition-winning designs will be shown for the first time in public and the exhibition Becoming will give a unique insight into the larger creative process.

The new gallery is intended to fill a gap (there is a lack of dedicated architecture galleries in Ireland) and hopes to intensify the debate about the future of the Irish built environment. Exhibitions will look in particular at projects that promote an innovative and energy-efficient architecture. Later this autumn, the gallery will host a topical panel discussion on “˜Competitions – From Idea to Realisation’ and on the “˜Challenges of New Procurement Methods’.

DARC Space is a non profit making organisation and Bord Gais Networks are the gallery’s main sponsor.

Speaking on the patronage of the project, John Barry, Managing Director of Bord Gáis Networks said; “We are delighted to support the DARC Space project and its efforts to promote innovative, sustainable and energy-efficient architecture and new possibilities for the building industry. Bord Gáis has always had a strong commitment to environmental protection and sustainable development in all of its operations. An example of this integrated, sustainable approach is the design by Denis Byrne Architects of our new Networks Services Centre project in Finglas, one of the featured designs in the first DARC Space exhibition. In challenging economic times, it is often said that Ireland cannot afford the green agenda however, the DARC Space project supported by Bord Gáis Networks, aims to demonstrate that progress and innovation can take place in tandem with environmental responsibility.”

DARC Space Board (Voluntary): Denis Byrne (Architect); Maggie Moran (Publisher); Marcus Reid (Architect); Dr Sandra O’Connell (Journalist and Academic); Niall McCullough (Architect); Valerie Mulvin (Architect)