Site Specific 2021: Four Courts

Inns Quay, Dublin

An epic ‘short documentary’ offering a unique and insightful account of the conservation and restoration work on Dublin’s iconic Four Courts dome, from Graham Hickey, Dublin Civic Trust, with Audrey Farrell, Senior Conservation Architect, Office of Public Works and Terri Sweeney Meade, Assistant Principal Architect Conservation, Office of Public Works. The Four Courts is an iconic building begun by Thomas Cooley in 1776 and then taken over by James Gandon following Cooley’s death. The documentary speaks about the building being a ‘survivor and witness’ to the social and political upheaval of our capital city over 200 years, revealing recent behind-the-scenes restoration by the OPW expert team.

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, Additional Camera Martin Osborne, Sound Recordist Susan Downey, Drone Photography Martin Osborne Blaine Rennicks, Rerecording Mixer Nikki Moss, Editor David O’Sullivan.

Contributors: Graham Hickey, Audrey Farrell, Terri Sweeney, Portrait of James Gandon, by William Cuming & Tilly Kettle © National Gallery of Ireland. Footage supplied by British Pathé.

Special Thanks: Dublin Civic Trust, Alan Keenan, Office of Public Works, Graham Hickey, Audrey Farrell, Terri Sweeney, Colum O’Riordan, Irish Architectural Archive, Margaret Mooney, Dublin City Council, British Pathé, Francis Gavin, The Courts Service & The Bar of Ireland.

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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