Site Specific 2021: College of Catering

Cathal Brugha Street, Dublin 1

A marriage of architecture and art with an underlining social comment about the role of women in society, this is a contemporary look at the College of Domestic Economy designed by Robinson and Keefe in 1939. Established to further the education of women, this college was located on Cathal Brugha Street. Conservation Architect Mary McDonald takes us on a descriptive tour of one of the capital’s wonderfully preserved examples of art deco architecture. Art Historian Paula Murphy talks to us about renowned sculptor Gabriel Hayes and her striking Three Graces figurative sculpture that represents Sweeping, Cooking and Sewing – at the time deemed appropriate studies for women.

Open House Dublin 2021 is delighted to premiere Season Two of Site Specific; A collection of short documentaries commissioned by the Irish Architecture Foundation, directed, and produced by Dyehouse Films, that reveals the impact of designed space on culture, history, and society. Site Specific Season Two crosses scale, time, type, and use. From a family home to a national power station; from a place for health to a place for legislation. It is no accident, within the current context, that we have focused on spaces for health, energy, family, education, law, and commerce. Each of the six buildings explored in this series convey a different stage of occupation, for example, some are coming into use (Baltrasna House), some have retained or adapted their use (The Four Courts, Catering College and Brú Chaoimhín) and others have fallen out of use (Pigeon House and Iveagh Market). The spaces chosen represent architecture that is in the thick of it, part of the everyday and part of our identity. Each represents an exchange between architecture and humanity, highlighting the simple fact that buildings support life and life supports buildings. In other words, we are responsible for their degeneration, preservation, and regeneration. This series is interested in time and the coexistence of old with new. We hope the documentaries encourage us to learn from the past and care about the future. They send a message of hope that Dublin will be built with respect for its inhabitants, natural and historic environment and a desire to provide for future generations.

Director Bonnie Dempsey, Producer Aimie Gavin, Director of Photography Tom Comerford, Sound Recordist Susan Downey, Drone Photography Martin Osborne Blaine Rennicks, Rerecording Mixer Nikki Moss, Editor Mike Foott, Executive Producer David O’Sullivan.

Contributors: Mary McDonald, Paula Murphy

Special Thanks: Colum O’Riordan, Irish Architectural Archive, The Rehab Group, Department of Education, Mary McDonald, Paula Murphy, Dublin City Council, Emma Gilleece, D-Light Studios, TU Dublin, Fionnbharr O’ Riordain.

Irish Architecture Foundation 2021 © Produced by Dyehouse Films Opinions expressed are the contributors’ alone and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Irish Architecture Foundation or Dyehouse Films.

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