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We are ramping up for Open House Dublin 2015, 16 to 18 October. We’ve just hired our amazing Open House Coordinator, the nervous system of the operation, Emma Gilleece. We pestered her to answer five questions from us so you, our lovely readers, can get to know our Emma.
Emma has five years’ experience working in the arts and is an active architectural heritage blogger. Her previous employers include Limerick City of Culture, Limerick Archives, Open House Limerick, and Declan Gilleece and Associates (Yes, she is related, that’s her da!).
Irish Architecture Foundation: How are you finding IAF so far, are we all mad?
Emma Gilleece: In short, yes! But really I think anybody who works in the arts has to be a bit eccentric to deal with the workload, to be answerable to the public and the long hours. But that’s what makes it worth it, when a project comes together. I’m loving every minute of being on the team with you wonderfully mad talented women and I can’t believe the people I’ve gotten to meet already.
IAF: Tell us about your amazing blog…
EG: Ah, Concrete Stew. I wouldn’t say it’s amazing but the discipline it has given me is. I started it last October and I try to post something every two weeks. It’s hard to sum up in one sentence what it’s about as my mind reacts to things happening now, in the past or buildings that I meet on my way to other buildings, hence the stew! I try to cover the underdog so it can be anything really, an under appreciated era in architecture, a building, a street, material, technique, person or place. I feel that the architecture of the first half of the twentieth century is completely overlooked at times and that’s the period most at risk. My mantra is that architecture is for everyone regardless of your background which I hope I get across with my blog.
IAF: You’re from Limerick, tell us about the projects you worked on there?
EG: Limerick is an exciting place to be right now on the back of City of Culture. Last year as part of the City of Culture, I was very lucky to work with Peter Carroll and Carole Pollard on DoCoMoMo Ireland’s architectural ideas competition reimagining Ranks grain silo on the Dock Road. I am Public Relations Officer for the Limerick Chapter of the Irish Georgian Society and we put on a pop-up exhibition on Georgian Limerick. I worked with Limerick City and County Council’s archivist Jacqui Hayes on the Limerick, City of Churches exhibition and was pretty excited to see my name on the front cover of a small publication of the same name which describes every building of worship that stands or once stood in the city. I gave a bus tour on the buildings of my all time favourite architect Andy Devane for Open House Limerick 2014. It was great to be a guide last year because before I was the Assistant Coordinator for the very first Open House Limerick in 2012.
IAF: How does Limerick compare to Dublin so far?
EG: Limerick will always be my first love but I am totally smitten with Dublin. My dad is a Dub so I know the city well from the at least annual trips to visit relatives. I am used to walking around Georgian streets with Limerick’s Georgian area Newtown Pery but what’s different in Dublin is that the Georgian townhouses are bigger. I am spoiled and can feel my blog fingers twitching with all the twentieth century architecture by Scott Tallon Walker, Sam Stephenson and of course Robinson, Keefe and Devane. I just found a place close to the city centre so I can’t wait to start exploring at the weekends.
IAF: What part of the Open House Dublin Programme are you most excited about?
EG: I am looking forward to housing as the theme, it’s the hot topic in Ireland at the moment. I love getting buildings on board where the initial reaction of the person in charge has been, “you want to give tours of this building?” Making people look at a building they see and use every day with fresh eyes gives me a happiness that I can’t put into words. And of course the Andy Devane buildings. Did I mention that I’m a fan?
IAF: Aww, we’re super excited to have you Emma, welcome to the team.