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Simms’ City


Simms’ City will explore the work of Herbert Simms, Dublin City’s housing architect from 1932 to 1948, who was responsible for the building of 17,000 homes in Dublin during his tenure. What can we learn from his visionary work?

This panel discussion will discuss Simms’ legacy and reveal the relevance of his work to our public housing policy debates today.

Reserve your free ticket.




Eddie Conroy (South Dublin County Council), Dr Ellen Rowley (UCD), and Eoin Ó Broin TD. Chaired by Ali Grehan (Dublin City Council).

Eddie Conroy, B. Arch., M. Arch. Sc., FRIAI, is County Architect with South Dublin County Council since 2007. He has worked on a broad range of design projects, including housing, public buildings, civic and urban design, and was involved in the design of the Adamstown and Clonburris new towns and the City Edge regeneration plan for the N7 corridor. His current work includes the Innovation Quarter regeneration project and the Heaworks district heating network, both underway in Tallaght town centre.

Ellen Rowley is an architectural and cultural historian. Her publications include the book Housing, Architecture and the Edge Condition: Dublin is building, 1935 – 1975 (Routledge, 2019) and co-editing Irish Architecture 1600–2000, Volume IV of Art and Architecture of Ireland (Yale, 2014). She is editor and principal author of the three-volume More Than Concrete Blocks: Dublin City’s Twentieth-Century Buildings and Their Stories. Ellen’s public engagement activities include being guest consultant editor of RTÉ Radio 1 lecture series on housing, ‘Making Home’ (2019/20); curator of Dublin’s tenement museum, 14 Henrietta Street, as it developed from 2016-2018; curator of Dublin Art + Architecture Book Fair 2018 (Temple Bar Gallery + Studios); and curator of Belfield 50 (UCD Comms) from 2019. She is an Honorary Member of the RIAI.

Eoin Ó Broin TD is Sinn Féin spokesperson on housing. He is author of five books, including Home: Why public housing is the answer (2019) and The Dignity of Everyday Life: Celebrating Michael Scott’s Busáras (2021). He is currently working with photographer Mall McCann on a new book on the architecture of Herbert Simms.

Ali Grehan, Dip. Arch., M.Sc., FRIAI, has been the Dublin City Architect since 2008. In this role she leads a multi-disciplinary team responsible for developing a broad urban design agenda including delivery of projects in relation to housing, public realm, community and cultural infrastructure. Her career has spanned private practice in Dublin, London and Bilbao, and in the public sector, where her particular focus has been on large-scale urban regeneration. Prior to becoming City Architect, Ali worked with Ballymun Regeneration Ltd, Fingal County Council and with the RPA (now TII) delivering Dublin’s first LUAS Light Rail system. She was recently awarded an M.Sc. in Climate Change: Policy, Media and Society from Dublin City University.


Visitor information:


The gallery is open Tuesday-Friday 12-5pm, Saturday 2-5pm until 17 February 2023 (but closed for the holidays 18 December-2 January).

Admission is free, and no booking is required to see the Housing Unlocked and Workers’ Villages exhibitions.

Free, drop-in tours take place every Tuesday and Thursday, 1pm and Saturday, 3pm.

Accessibility: Entrance is at ground level. Some displays are on the first floor. Please ask the gallery attendants to guide you to the lift if needed. Audio recordings of Housing Unlocked exhibition panel text are available via QR codes on the panels and on the exhibition webpages for the displays.


Housing Unlocked is a partnership between the Irish Architecture Foundation and The Housing Agency, sponsored by The Housing Agency with additional support from The Arts Council, The Land Development Agency, the New European Bauhaus, and venue partner Trinity College Dublin. The exhibition and public programme are curated by the Irish Architecture Foundation.


Photo: Detail of Donachy and Dimond Architects’ model of The Liberties in their Model Housing – Urban Horticulture display at Housing Unlocked. Photo by Ste Murray.