Site Specific 2021: Cork Street Fever Hospital (Brú Chaoimhín)

In the heart of the Liberties, the Fever Hospital and House of Recovery was designed by Samuel Johnston and built by Henry, Mullins, and McMahon in 1804. Renamed Brú Chaoimhín in the 1950’s, this is a unique insight into the design philosophy of a healthcare facility built to deal with many epidemics that ravaged Dublin city. Local resident and planner, Kieran Rose, and historian Megan Brien, reveal how design was used to combat the spread of disease. Learning from the past and advocating for access to our historic built fabric is heightened by current and urgent discussions on health, architecture, and public space.

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, Camera David O’Sullivan Tom Comerford, Drone Photography John McMahon, UpShot, Sound Recordist Susan Downey, Rerecording Mixer Nikki Moss, Editor David O’ Sullivan Contributors: Kieran Rose, Megan Brien.

Special Thanks: Health Service Executive. Irish Research Council, Colum O’Riordan, Royal College of Physicians of Ireland, Irish Architectural Archive. Emma Gilleece, Dublin City Library and Archive.

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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