Begorrathon 2017: The Irish Architectural Archive


I’ve written about the Irish Architectural Archive before; it’s a place I love to stop into whenever I have the opportunity.

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Situated in a magnificent Georgian house at 45 Merrion Square, the Archive hosts the country’s most important collection of architectural blueprints and documents, providing an invaluable resource for academics, researchers and the mildly curious.

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No building is too grand or too humble for the IAA, so here you’ll find plans for many of the country’s great historic buildings as well as modest cottages, churches, shops and farms.

As well as the Archive’s permanent collection, it also hosts temporary exhibitions of art and architectural interest.

The Archive is currently celebrating its 40th anniversary with House and Home, an exhibition featuring over forty original architectural drawings, as well as publications, models and photographs, for residential projects in Irelandthat

Included are proposals for thatched cottages, suburban semi-Ds, one-off bungalows, blocks of flats, country houses of varying sizes, and even a maison de plaisance. Reflecting the chronological spread of the Archive’s holdings, the works range in date from the mid-eighteenth century to the late twentieth. Some of these projects were built, others merely proposed. Of those that were built, some are extremely modest, others highly ambitious, even adventurous. Of the unbuilt, some are generic archetypes, others unrealisable fantasy. What all of these diverse designs have in common is that they are tangible demonstrations of architects exercising their architectural imaginations to tackle the question of how to provide quality homes for Irish people

My good friend Aisling works as an archivist at the IAA – her latest blog on Killiney’s Victoria Castle is here.

The reading room at the Irish Architectural Archive is open 10 – 5, Tuesdays to Fridays.

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