Filling the empty urban spaces of the property boom – visiting French architects dare to ask Dubliners: WHAT IF…?

Probably, the last thing the Irish need right now is a bunch of strangers from the continent telling them that the current crisis is a blessing in disguise. While not taking the point quite this far, WISH architects from Paris will dare to wager that some good may come out of bringing the construction frenzy of the property boom to a halt.

“Dublin has been put on hold. From our perspective the crisis is a constructive time-out which gives us an opportunity to suggest alternative ideas and deliberately utopian scenarios for the city,” says Mathias Debien of WISH architects.

With the kind support of The European Forum for Architectural Policies, The Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland and critic Petar Zaklanovic, the three architects of the WISH-team have spent a good deal of time in Ireland over the past six months looking at SHADOWLANDS – the empty spaces, half finished building sites and neighbourhoods – thinking up answers to what could be done with them now, and importantly, in a more sustainable manner than originally planned.

– What if the U2 tower became a much lighter landmark, a helium balloon and an airy museum, offering a view of the city and the harbour from a 120 meter instead of the hole in the ground that is now?

-What if the unfinished town estate of Clongriffin could make way for a softer form of urbanism – camping sites for tourists and a circus?

-What if the empty building sites of Greater Dublin could open a door to urban farming, giving Dublin a new status as a partly self sufficient city and in the process allowing for greater suburban community interaction?

The WISH architects will make a presentation of their outsider’s vision of Dublin’s new possibilities, with a frank debate with the architects about their SHADOWLAND project at Fumbally Exchange Exhibition space, Fumbally Square, Dublin 8, at 7.00 PM on Thursday 9, December.