25 Apr Review – EUROPA 8: Ireland + Northern Ireland @ RIBA
The RIBA concluded the cycle of the EUROPA talks at 66 Portland Place with a successful lecture hosting some of the best young architectural practices in Ireland and Northern Ireland, Maria Cunico reports.
An enthusiastic audience attended the event on Tuesday 24 April, clearly interested not only in discovering a very genuine way of designing, but also in addressing the extremely actual theme of the role of Ireland and Northern Ireland in the Brexit phase, of its economic consequences and its reflections into the world of architecture on the green island.
The practices participating to the lecture where TAKA architects and Clancy Moore Architects from Ireland and Hall McKnight and McGonigle McGrath from Northern Ireland.
Alice Casey and Cian Deegan of TAKA Architects are Irish architects in search for the expression of a national identity in their design while looking at the architecture outside the country. They have travelled and studied examples in India, China, Japan, Nepal, Brazil and Europe which became a fundamental palette for their compositions.
The projects presented were several private houses and extensions and the Merrion Cricket Pavilion.
© TAKA Architects
McGonigle McGrath is a RIBA Chartered architectural practice based in Belfast, Northern Ireland. “The dialogue between form and volume” is for them the principle of the creative process. Abstraction, simplicity, balance and functionality distinguish their work.
Their language is a composition of archaic elements taken from the traditional Irish buildings, such as the thick wall and the plinth. Details are reduced, volume is expressed with flushness of surfaces, façades are designed with the finest equilibrium. Most of the projects have been developed through models and 2D compositional studies.
© McGonigle McGrath
The Dublin based architectural practice Clancy Moore Architects believes that the design process is a succession of occasional correspondences. Politics, culture, economy, technology, references from the past are the actors of a big play that gives shape to architecture. In this collective conversation the architect has the role of the inescapable negotiator.
The Red Pavilion of the London Festival of Architecture in 2015 was one of the highlighted projects along with the conversion of a precast concrete stable into a house and a gallery.
© Clancy Moore Architects
Hall McKnight is an architectural practice established in 2003, with offices in Belfast and London. The presentation began with the cover of Michael Benedikt’s “For an Architecture of Reality” to express that the direct aesthetic experience of the real is the starting point for any design. The human being looks for spots of wellbeing, for pleasant experiences, for references from nature and history, for free spaces that are the manifestation of unspoken wishes. The architect should welcome this physical and spiritual engagement in the design by trying to find the resonance between nature and references to tradition elements.
The main project presented was the Quadrangle Building within King’s College in London.
© Hall McKnight
The lecture terminated with a panel discussion on the topics of the Irish architectural identity, the practice of architecture in Ireland and the economical prospective in the Irish island in the next years.
If you missed the event, do not worry. You will find many Irish and Northern Irish architectural practices at the Venice Biennale this year.