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Emmett Scanlon appointed new Director of the Irish Architecture Foundation


The IAF Board has announced the appointment of Emmett Scanlon as the organisation’s new Director.

Mr. Scanlon will formally take up the role from the IAF’s incumbent Director Nathalie Weadick in May 2023. 

Mr. Scanlon is an architect in independent practice since 2006, prior to which he was Project Director at Grafton Architects. Additionally, he is Assistant Professor in Architecture at University College Dublin and was awarded a University Teaching and Learning Award in 2021. Currently, he is Assistant to Curator Professor Lesley Lokko for the 18th International Architecture Exhibition, Biennale Architettura 2023, The Laboratory of the Future. Mr. Scanlon is the host and producer of the podcast, What Buildings Do, regarded as the most popular podcast on this subject produced in Ireland. The podcast is part of Story, Building, a platform for the critical discussion of architecture in Ireland, founded in 2021.

Between 2006-2020, Mr. Scanlon was Architecture Adviser to the Arts Council of Ireland. In 2018 he was Assistant to the curators for FREESPACE, the 16th International Architecture Exhibition, Venice. He has also curated exhibitions in Dublin, Kilkenny, and London. In 2020, Mr. Scanlon was the Production Designer on Where We Live, the flagship festival of theatre company ThisIsPopBaby, and he was an associate artist with the company for 2021-22.

Making the announcement, Chairperson of the Board of the IAF, Mr. Brian Moran, said: “For over a decade, Emmett has shown independent and committed leadership in building audiences for architecture in Ireland. He has achieved this through his work in spatial and exhibition design, broadcasting, policy development, writing and publishing. He has further done so as an innovative programmer of events and an award-winning leader in education and training. During Emmett’s tenure as Architecture Adviser to the Arts Council of Ireland, he played a key role in advancing new research and partnership initiatives to strengthen strategic support for architecture and architects nationally and internationally.

“Emmett’s overall commitment is toward making architecture accessible and strengthening its social and cultural relevance. We are excited to have someone of Emmett’s calibre to lead the IAF into the future and to continue to build on the organisation’s work in championing the importance and power of architecture in Ireland.”

Commenting on his appointment, Mr. Scanlon said: “I am honoured to be the new Director of the Irish Architecture Foundation. As an independent organisation, the IAF is the established leader in the advancement of the public experience and culture of architecture in Ireland. Today, across the globe, issues such as climate change, spatial justice, and equality are fundamentally changing the direction of practice and discourse in architecture.

“I am eager to begin working with the Board and staff of the Irish Architecture Foundation, and with people and partners nationally and internationally to ensure the IAF is at the forefront of future critical conversations and change. I wish to anchor the IAF as a centre for building knowledge in architecture, and I will strive to ensure the IAF continues to enable people to think differently about their built world, strengthening our public belief in architecture across the island of Ireland.”

Continuing the announcement, Mr. Moran said: “It is very difficult to describe succinctly the huge contribution Nathalie has made to the IAF over the last 15 years.  She has infused the Foundation with her personal DNA for absolute excellence in the creative, artistic production of the multifaceted programme of activities underway.  We wish Nathalie well in the next stage in her stellar career and are very fortunate to be in the situation that Emmett can step in to a well structured programme and inherit a very talented team built up by  Nathalie.”

Also commenting, outgoing Director of the IAF, Nathalie Weadick, said: “In my time as Director of the IAF,  I have witnessed the growth of a generation who are actively engaged in the built environment and who now have a deeper understanding of architecture as a civic right. Outside of architects themselves and the architectural institutions, there is no other body fulfilling this critical role. It is with a heavy heart I leave the IAF after 15 years. I may be leaving the IAF but I am continuing my passion for creative practice and its impact on society, politics, and culture. I wish to congratulate the Board on the appointment of Emmett Scanlon, who will adeptly and creatively take the organisation to the next level.”


Photo of Emmett Scanlon by Myles Shelly.