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Community Talk

Speaker Profile: Seán Harrington


Seán Harrington, an architect based in Dublin, has a keen interest in the design, use, care and democratisation of public space. As principal architect of Sean Harrington Architects this interest in public space can be seen in various projects including the giant umbrellas in Meeting House Square, the Millennium and Rosie Hackett Bridges and the open air pallet-amphitheatre in Granby Park.

“As a citizen first and as an architect second, I’m really interested in what exactly is ‘public space’, what is it for, and just how does it work best,” explains Sean. “For over 30 years I have studied and observed what makes a public space work and how people have adapted ‘public space’ for their own and community benefits, both in Dublin and further a field. Of course there are design issues, but central to all success is to engender the feeling that the space really does belong to us all; to democratise it.”

Sean Harrington Architects were unsurprisingly at the thick of it in a hugely successful Dublin pop up park that did just that with public space, made it available and open to all, to play and learn. Granby Park was an urban, pop-up park in a vacant site in Dublin’s inner city during the summer of 2013. Upstart planned the park, collaborating with local residents, artists, architects and Dublin City Council. Sean Harrington Architects designed an amphitheatre made completely out of reused wooden pallets.

The pallet theatre’s brief was challenging – to design a temporary building from materials that could be sourced for no cost, and built with inexperienced voluntary labour. The pallets were built in a circular arrangement, like a small classical amphitheatre, and the undulating wall swooped from a 5m+ wall as a backdrop to the stage, to a seat height section that extended into the park, to welcome visitors into the space. The amphitheatre became the focal point of the park and was used to house performances, debates and classes.

Sean will speak at Pecha Kucha with Anne Bedos (Rothar), Esther Gerrard (Bloom Fringe), Manchan Magan (RTE/TG4/The Irish Times), Gearoid Carvill and Kieran Harnett (Dublin Honey Company), Hollie Kearns and Rosie Lynch (Callan Workhouse Union), Douglas Carson (Carson and Crushell), Emmet Condon (Homebeat) and Sam Tranum (Liberties Press).

If you’re unfamiliar with the Pecha Kucha format, here it is in a nutshell: speakers get 20 slides, and 20 seconds to explain each. This is no excuse to talk through the technicalities of their work, but to provoke us into thinking about themes and issues that effect us all. Pecha Kucha is a not-for-profit event and is brough to you by Irish Architecture Foundation andTotally Dublin.

Wednesday 22 July, 7pm, The Sugar Club. Tickets are available on the door for just €5 and that includes a free Peroni beer.

Image: Granby Park Ampitheatre sourced at www.builtdublin.com