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The Reimagine Workers’ Villages exhibition is a celebration of the work and legacy of architect Frank Gibney and of the communities that were created through his innovative Bord na Móna villages.
Built in the 1950s to house the growing workforce for the national peat industry, these estates are regarded as representing a new departure in rural housing that continue to provide lessons in compact, sustainable design.
The Science Gallery Dublin, Naughton Institute, TCD, Pearse Street
14 October 2022 – 21 January 2023
Tuesday-Friday 12-5pm, Saturday 2-5pm (closed 18 December – 2 January)
This exhibition is part of the IAF’s Reimagine placemaking programme. Architects Evelyn D’Arcy, David Jameson, Caelan Bristow and Mike Haslam from the Workers’ Villages project team have been working with communities in Cloontuskert, Co. Roscommon and Kilcormac, Co. Offaly to explore their built heritage during a period of major change as they move away from the industrial peat economy.
The Workers’ Villages exhibition delves into the social history of the villages, with video interviews, objects and printed materials for visitors that share what life in the villages was like during their time as Bord na Móna estates. Visitors with a connection to any of Frank Gibney’s worker estates across Ireland are invited to share their own stories.
Video interviews included in the exhibition have been captured by artist-filmmaker Padraig Cunningham of Pure Designs, who has been working on a documentary film about the Reimagine Workers’ Villages project for the past two years.
Announcing the official launch of the exhibition, Bernardine Carroll, Engagement Curator at the Irish Architecture Foundation, said: “Architects have special skills in reading and understanding the stories encoded in our built heritage. It’s important to remind ourselves and our audiences that these stories are not just local to each of the communities, but are connected, and part of our national identity and our shared industrial heritage.”
The IAF Reimagine Workers’ Villages exhibition is running at the Science Gallery Dublin, TCD, until 21 January 2023. The exhibition is presented in conjunction with the Housing Unlocked exhibition.
On Wednesday, 9 November at 5.30pm, the Irish Architecture Foundation will formally launch the Workers’ Villages exhibition with opening words by Tania Banotti, Director of Creative Ireland and by Fergal MacCabe, author of the book Ambition and Achievement: The Civic Visions of Frank Gibney. From 3-5pm, the IAF will be hosting a Workers’ Villages colloquium, bringing together academics, architects and community members to think together about the legacy and future story of the Bord na Móna villages.
The Irish Architecture Foundation’s Reimagine Workers’ Villages project is funded through Creative Ireland’s Creative Climate Action Fund, aimed at supporting communities at the heart of Ireland’s just transition process. The Reimagine programme is funded by the Arts Council and Department of Rural and Community Development, with additional support from the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage.
For more information about the IAF’s Reimagine placemaking programme, including the Hometown Architect open call, visit www.reimagineplace.ie.
Photo by Vera Ryklova.