Site Specific: Parnell Square

Dublin 1

An ambitious redevelopment project is underway to transform Parnell Square into the cultural quarter of Dublin City with the provision of the new Dublin City Library. The new City Library on Parnell Square will be a meeting place for both people and ideas Yet to be built, here you will see inside the Coláiste Mhuire site, six Georgian buildings number 23 to number 28 Parnell Square,  as they are now in a state of disrepair.  The Pritzker Prize winning architects Shelley McNamara and Yvonne Farrell reveal, with their collaborator conservation architect Grainne Shaffrey, the potential of these spaces as they plan to transform them into a place for people to read, to listen, to watch, to play, to research and to think. The documentary also features the vision behind the commission from Ali Grehan City Architect and Mairead Owens City Librarian. Architectural historian Christine Casey tells us about the significance of the former life of Parnell Square as the Pleasure Gardens in 1753, and soon to be the new contemporary cultural epicentre in Dublin’s historic north side. 

Site Specific is a special commission of ten short documentaries by the Irish Architecture Foundation for Open House Dublin 2020. Dyehouse Films reveal the personalities, processes, complexity, creativity and transformative impact that surround the act of designed space. The protagonists: the site, the architect, the historian, the user, speak directly to the camera, they speak directly to us. Site Specific crosses the city, scales and building types from play parks, social housing, places of worship to a building not yet built. Taken individually, each 5-minute video has something of the condensed power of a short story. As with the best short stories, it is through the intense focus on the particular qualities of a particular space at a particular time, that much larger social and cultural themes are illuminated. Site Specific makes evident architecture’s great central responsibility – the shaping of the spaces that in turn shape society.

Filmed and Directed by Bonnie Dempsey, Director of Photography Tom Comerford. Drone Photography Paul Magee. Rerecording Mixer Nikki Moss. Editor Mike Foott. Producer Aimie Gavin 

Special thanks to Ali Grehan, Dublin City Council, Professor Christine Casey, Irish Research Council, Mairead Owens, Dublin City Library, Pearse Street Library, Angela Cassidy, Paula Stone, Ste Murray Photographer, Picture Plane, Sophie Dempsey, Robert Farrelly, Post Studio, D-Light Studio, Grafton Architects, Shaffrey Associates Architects 

Produced by Dyehouse Films 2020

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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