Recession gives designers the space to be creative

Dublin City architect Ali Grehan is delighted by the ideas, initiative, voluntary effort and sheer energy that’s emerging as a result of the recession. It proves, if proof were needed, that we have more time to think now that the frenetic days of the boom are well and truly over – just as we did in the bleak 1980s.

Over the weekend, in response to the city council’s Innovation Dublin initiative, there was certainly a lot of ferment – in Arbour Hill, where local kids were involved in designing their own playspace and in Smithfield, where the “Now What?” ginger group from UCD School of Architecture was designing new housing for Dominick Street.

In St Stephen’s Green, everyone collaborating in the Designing Dublin pilot project were doing prototyping workshops in the mornings, “Show and Tell” stories in the afternoons and inviting members of the public (who dropped in to take part in a poster competition) to illustrate how they would like to see the city develop in the future.

Up in North Great George’s Street, architect Denis Byrne has opened a new gallery space called Darc on the ground floor of his award-winning Cigar Box infill building, to serve as a hub for exhibitions, talks and debates on contemporary architecture that aims to re-position our battered construction sector on the path of sustainable development.

The Irish Times