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May 8, 2008

Brutal, honest youth centre wins top award

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Sometimes it takes an outsider to spot the obvious. “A cycle seems to be forming in Ireland that needs to be broken,” according to Brussels-born architect Julien de Smedt. “The younger generation of architects . . . are mainly designing small-scale residential projects, while the large commercial offices are designing the major public works.” In a cri de coeur as the foreign assessor of this year’s Architectural Association of Ireland awards, de Smedt of JDS Architects, Copenhagen asked why Ireland is “so nervous of the talent it has” and he implored “the people in power, the planners, the city architects and the institute of architects to recognise and challenge young talent . . . to define its cities”. De Smedt, who won the Golden Lion at the 2004 Venice Architecture Biennale for his concert hall in Stavanger, Norway, when he was not yet 30, suggests that Ireland “finally has a chance to make amends and re-establish a new culture of design in the city” by involving younger architects in major projects such as Grangegorman.

The Irish Times

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