It’s worth a reasonably early start on the second day to see Liberty Hall (Saturday and Sunday 10-1.45), one of Dublin’s tallest buildings and guaranteed to be popular since its days appear to be numbered. It’s a modernist icon that’s gone through some unfortunate modifications since it was built to Desmond Rea O’Kelly’s design in 1971, but take the opportunity to see it up close while you can.
Nearby, there’s also Busaras (11-4.30), a major modern building by Michael Scott’s office, completed (after a bit of a saga) in 1953 and showing international influences including Le Corbusier. The roof terrace is gorgeous, with mosaics by Patrick Scott and a great view down onto engineer Ove Arup’s curved concrete canopy.
For the afternoon, make your way south, stopping first just off Leeson Street at Number 31 (Sunday 12-4.30). It’s now a luxury guesthouse, but it was designed by architect Sam Stephenson as his own home. The living area is hard to forget, with its sunken ‘conversation pit’ and a mirrored bar. Stephenson is best known in Dublin as a figure of large-scale controversy (keywords: Central Bank, Wood Quay, Fitzwilliam Street), and his home presents a charming image of a man who took entertaining mad seriously.
Structure is the highlight at Donnybrook Bus Garage (12-4.30), by the office of Michael Scott and engineer Ove Arup. Arup’s design for the series of concrete shell vaults was innovative and elegant, and it’s nice to see beauty in a bus shed.
The Orchard Day/Respite Centre (2-4.30) in Blackrock by Níall McLaughlin Architects is a gorgeous, poetic work of architecture that might not have reached the public radar. It’s a centre for people with Alzheimer’s, and the building sits within the walls of an 18th century kitchen garden. Between the built elements, there are courtyards, allotments and garden spaces, and there’s a careful complexity to it that allowed for meandering loops through a variety of sensory and climatic conditions. Not a bad way to end the weekend.