Site Specific 2021: Pigeon House Power Station

Dublin 4

Decommissioned in 1976, the largest protected structure in Ireland, the vast ruin of the former Pigeon House Power Station is one of the most striking industrial architecture complexes in the city. Charles Duggan, Heritage Officer DCC and Lenzie O’Sullivan Senior Architect DCC, take us through the use and historical significance of the striking structure opened in 1902. Designed by engineers, its interior was functional, with an exterior that brandished the brick design techniques of its time. The layers of exposed fabric show how the building was constantly modified to keep up with increasing electricity demand. The building now holds a different kind of power, one of great cultural and social potential.

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 Oonagh Quinn, Executive Producer David O’Sullivan.

Contributors: Charles Duggan, Lenzie O’Sullivan.

Special Thanks: Margaret Mooney, Fred McEvoy, Damien Magaharan, Dublin City Council, ESB Archives, Colum O’Riordan, Irish Architectural Archive, 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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