Thursday, November 19, 2009

No. 13 Being & Architecture

For our next reading group I propose that we find out what Heidegger had to say about architecture, to that end we will be reading "Building Dwelling Thinking" and "Poetically Man Dwells" both by Heidegger. (Both these texts are featured in the book "Rethinking Architecture A reader in cultural theory" ed by Neil Leach, a book which complies philosophers views on architecture) We will be meeting to discuss these readings on Tuesday 1st December, at 7.30, in the Library Bar, Central Hotel, Exchequer St.

I think this will be the last reading group before Christmas, so hope to see you all there, as always please email to attend.

Martin Heidegger belongs to the phenomenological school of philosophy, concerned with the nature of being. His seminal work was "Being and Time"

Monday, October 19, 2009

No. 12 Shadows and Atmospheres

This week's readings are more poetic and lyrical than our last few readings. We have two readings: sections 1 - 4 of Peter Zumthor's Atmospheres proposed by Denis McNulty/Dominic Stevens and In Praise of Shadows by Junichiro Tanizaki proposed by Dearbhla MacManus. As In Praise of Shadows is really one long essay, I propose that we read as much as you have time for.

We will be back in the library bar this week, 7.30 Tuesday. As always please email me

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

No. 11 Google Earth & Global Intimacy

To mark our special exhibition reading group session, I have asked Hugh Campbell, who proposed our first text to propose another. Hugh has very kindly proposed "Zoom: Google Earth and Global Intimacy" by Vittoria diPalma published in the collection Intimate Metropolis ed Diana Periton, Vittoria diPalma et al.

This promises to be a really interesting discussion, and as it is our exhibition session we are looking forward to a celebratory atmosphere. It will take place on
Tuesday 12th Oct, 7.30p.m. now what? exhibition space, Unit 14 Block C, Smithfield Plaza.

It would be great if those of you who have attended the reading group before can make it.

As always places are limited so please email to attend.

(Updated version with pictures is available here.)

Sunday, October 4, 2009

No. 10 A Theory of Architecture?

This week's readings are a slight diversion from the previous trend. I am hoping that theses readings although short will premote a debate as to whether the theory or practice of architecture is the more important. The readings are: Theses on Feuerbach by Karl Marx and For (a) theory (of architecture) by Manuel J. Martin-Hernandez. Both readings are proposed by Dearbhla MacManus.

We will be meeting at 7.30 in the Library Bar, Central Hotel, Exchequer St. on Tuesday 6th Oct to discuss these readings. Please email to attend.

Monday, September 28, 2009

No. 9 How Buildings Learn

This week we will be reading chapter 5 "Magazine Architecture: No Road" from How Buildings Learn, by Stewart Brand, proposed by Dennis McNulty. The chapter is available here. This book was also made into a BBC series by Brand with music by Brian Eno. The whole series seems to have been uploaded by Brand himself to google video here.
We will be meeting to discuss this reading on Tuesday 29th September in the Library Bar, Central Hotel at 7.30. Please email me at to attend.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

No. 8 Architecture Without Architects

"Architecture Without Architects - Another Anarchist Approach" by Marion Von Osten is our next reading, proposed by Dennis McNulty. And I would like to proposed that we also read a text that Hugh Campbell suggested during our first reading group session: "The Megacity Decoding the Chaos of Lagos" by George Packer.

We will be meeting to discuss these texts on 22nd September 7.30p.m. Library Bar, Central Hotel, Exchequer St.
Please email me at to attend.

No. 7 Future Systems? - Review

Firstly I want to thank Florian and Nuala for proposing such interesting material. We had a lively discussion on what our futures may look like. We discussed the future role of architecture and the architect, and whether the fundamental needs of people would really change. Therer was also much debate on the merits of the internet and its all knowing power. Inevitably George Orwell's 1984 came up and it is available online here. Alain De Botton's "The Architecture of Happiness" was also discussed.

Again thanks to everyone for coming, see you next week.


New American Library photo.

Monday, September 14, 2009

No. 7 Future Systems?

Following on from last week, this weeks readings are all about the future. The Big Here and Long Now
and Unthinkable Futures both by Brian Eno, and proposed by Nuala Flood. Also this week to compliment the readings we have a video (very 21st century) TED talks
Kevin Kelly on the next 5,000 days of the web proposed by Florian Leavy.

We will be meeting to discuss these on Tuesday 15th September at 7.30 in the Library Bar, Central Hotel, Exchequer St. As always please email me at to attend.


No. 6 Paris: Invisible City - Review

Our first reading group in the Library bar was a great success. Thank you to everyone for attending and thank you especially to Aideen English for proposing the text. Florian has suggested some TED talks related to our discussion. This one by Steven Lawler on Virtual Earth, which covers some of the mapping ideas we talked about.

And this TEDtalk by Blaise Aguera on Photosynth which relates to the idea of small snippets adding up to give a complete picture of the whole.

Thank you to Florian for suggesting these videos.


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

No. 6 Paris: Invisible City

Our first "in town" reading is proposed by Aideen English. It is an interactive piece by Bruno Latour (text) and Emilie Hermant (photos) and is available here.
As Aideen says "
It's very interesting for its intersection of photography, space, urban theory and social theory"
Bruno Latour has been described as a philosopher, anthropologist, and sociologist, but it would seem that applying labels to his work would not be appropriate. A brief account of his work is available here, also his own website

We will be reading the first chapter "Traversing" as a minimum, but I suggest reading as much a possible as it does look very interesting and relevant to the dicussions we have been having so far.

We will be meeting to discuss this reading on Tuesday 8th September at 7.30 at the Library Bar, Central Hotel, Exchequer Street.


Thursday, August 27, 2009

reading group goes on and on and on.........

At our last session we agreed that the reading group will take place in town from now on. It will be on the same day (Tuesday) same time (7.30) venue tbc.

The first "in town" session will take place on Tuesd
ay 8th September.

So now that we have a weeks break, please get your thinking caps on for reading proposals. As always you can email me at See you soon, Dearbhla

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

No. 5 Embodied Experience and Distance

As most of you know, unfortunately I had to postpone last Tuesday's reading group session as there were a lot of people away. Thus next Tuesday's session on the 25th will discuss the "Embodied Experience and Distance" readings (see below). As always if you wish to attend please email me at In order to ensure that we know how many people are going to turn up, I will be asking everyone who wants to come to send me a comfirmation email by 2p.m. on the day of the reading. Hope to see you Tuesday.



Thursday, August 13, 2009

No. 5 Embodied Experience and Distance

For our next reading group session the texts are proposed by me! I don't really want to say to much about the texts, I would rather that the readers bring their own responses on Tuesday 18th. The texts are:
Lived Space Embodied Experience and Sensory Thought from Encounters by Juhani Pallasmaa and
The Necessity of Distance Setting the Position for Critical Spatial Practice by Catharina Gabrielsson from Curating Architecture and the City Edited by Sarah Chaplin and Alexandra Stara.

We will be meeting as usual at 7.30 in the boardroom, in Richview on Tuesday 18th August.

As always please email me at if you would like to attend.

No. 4 Defining Values for a new Environmental Architecture - Review

Firstly thank you to Paul Kenny for proposing such stimulating texts. Again we had a really interesting session on Tuesday, the reading brought up questions of value, intrinsic value, instrumental value, value systems.
Is something still valuable if there is no-one there to value it?
Does architecture have an intrinsic value? What value system should architects use?
The world we live in has changed completely, is it time for a new value system for humanity, and what values should be prioritised?
We also talked about the responsibility of architects for the impact buildings have on the environment as a whole. Perhaps the value systems we currently operate from, do not take enough cognisance of this impact?
We also discussed the idea of cradle to cradle design, and Gaia theory, the earth as a super-self-regulating organism.

Related reading: Gaia:A New Look at Life on Earth by James Lovelock
Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the way we make things by William McDonough & Michael Braungart

Thursday, August 6, 2009

No. 3 The Tomorrow Club - Review

I know I keep saying the same thing, but we had a really interesting session last night. Thank you so much to Ellen for proposing the texts and being a mine of information. Thanks to everyone who came also. Many diverse issues were discussed, and a few perplexing questions came up inculding; Why is the 2-storey semi-d house the same all over the country, where did the plan/design for these now generic houses come from? (Answers on a postcard please). We also discussed forgotten Irish architects such as Noel Moffett and Herbert Symes (Symes is designed many of the brick dutch expressionist housing complexes around Dublin).
Further reading: "The Lost Decade: Ireland in the 1950s" edited by Dermot Keogh, Finbarr O'Shea, Carmel Quinlan.

No. 4 Defining Values for a new Environmental Architecture

As you can see next week's topic relates to environmental architecture and is proposed by Paul Kenny of UCD. In his own words; "I would like to focus the reading around the idea of our cultural/social collective definition of 'value' as the basis for many of the current environmental problems and then apply that to architecture through the application of an appropriate value system."
To that end we will be reading
chapters 1, 2 and 9 from Christopher Belshaw's book "Environmental Philosophy"
The final reading is a chapter from 'Ethics and the Built Environment' (edited by Warwick Fox) called 'The Conceptual Basis of Building Ethics' and written by Mustafa Pultar.

As always we should be in for a very interesting discussion, if you would like to take part please email me at

Thursday, July 30, 2009

No. 3 The Tomorrow Club

Our third reading group is a primer for the public converstation "Reaction to Crises". The material for this session is proposed by Ellen Rowley of Trinity College. The material for reading explores a period of our architectural history which is not generally discussed, and is very relevant to our current state. This session will take place on Wednesday 5th August, 7.30p.m., boardroom, Richview. Ellen has given us extracts from a selection of sources, and has given us some direction for our reading, here.

There are 3 required reading extracts:
1. Extracts from The Handbook of National Planning and Reconstruction, Dublin 1944
2. Editorial and letters from America, Architecture in Ireland. RIAI Yearbook, 1946
3. Overview of Ireland is Building, Local Government pamphlet, 1951

And there are 2 optional extracts:
1. The Post-War Building Programme, Government White Paper, 1944
2. Extracts from Mervyn Wall, Leaves for the Burning, (London: Methuen, 1952)

The texts are short and very entertaining, and I'm sure it will be a very lively discussion.

As always please email me at if you would like to attend.

(Please allow time for these PDFs to load, and note that the first page may be blank.)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

No. 2 Common Space - Review

Last Tuesday's session was really lively. Thank you to everyone who attended, and thank you to Alan Mee, Seoidin O'Sullivan, and Donal Hickey for proposing the texts. Our discussion ranged from the obsolete nature of traditional mapping, to the need for a new system of government!

In terms of the ownership of common space in particular, the Swedish example of "All Mans Rule" was suggested as a possible solution, where the default position is that of public ownerhsip rather than private. It is this concept which allows the Swedish people to hike and camp anywhere. Some further information is available here and here.
Alastair McIntosh's book Soil and Soul: People Versus Coporate Power is an account of this concept applied in Scotland.

We also discussed an example of ground up regeneration, again in Sweden. The Natural Step,
a sustainable framework for growth adpoted through consenus of the people. The Natural Step Story by Karl Henrik Robert is available here.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

No. 1 Veiled Works and Blurred Contects - Review

We had a very interesting discussion last Tuesday with Hugh's reading. As always, the coversation took varied and wonderful tangents away from the topic itself and some interesting ideas were discussed, from the relevance of the process of creating architecture to reflecting on our current cultural context. In the course of discussion some related texts came up: "The Megacity" Decoding the chaos of Lagos by George Packer and "Architecture Depends" by Jermey Till, sample chapters of this book can be found here and "The Yokohama Project: Foreign Office Architects" by Foreign Office Architects.
It was a very successful evening, and I would to thank Hugh Campbell for proposing a very interesting and provocative text.

To join the reading group please email, everybody is welcome.

Friday, July 24, 2009

No. 3 The Tomorrow Club

Our third reading group is a primer for the public converstation "Reaction to Crises". The material for this session is proposed by Ellen Rowley
of Trinity College.
The material for reading explores a period of our architectural history which is not generally discussed, and is very relevant to our current state. This session will take place on Wednesday 5th August, 7.30p.m., boardroom, Richview. Texts will be posted here soon.