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July 22, 2008

‘The Lives of Spaces’ launched

logo_venicebiennale‘The Lives of Spaces’ – Ireland’s participation at the 11th International Architecture Exhibition was launched at a reception in Newman House today. The Irish entry to the Venice Architecture Biennale is a Culture Ireland initiative, in partnership with the Arts Council, sponsored by the Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland, the Embassy of Ireland to Italy and is one of 65 national participations – a record number for the Venice Architecture Biennale. The 11th International Architecture Exhibition will take place in Venice from September 14th to November 23rd.

Speaking at the launch, Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism, Martin Cullen said: “Irish architects are shaping design worldwide – many of our architects work abroad, influencing new building in other countries and others who work from an Irish base are involved in international design contracts. I welcome the fact that an international audience will experience Ireland and some of our leading creative talents through this exhibition. It is with the support of Culture Ireland and the Arts Council that the Irish submission to the Venice Biennale is facilitated, offering an important opportunity to showcase Irish architecture to an international audience.”

Eugene Downes, CEO, Culture Ireland said: “Irish architects have made a major impact in recent Venice Biennales, growing their international profile and reputation. It is a great example of a truly global showcase for Irish artistic talent, and is a priority initiative for Culture Ireland. This year’s line up looks formidable, and we wish all the participants success.”

Olive Braiden, Chair, Arts Council said: “The Arts Council is proud to be supporting the architecture practices representing Ireland at this year’s Venice Biennale. The exhibition will represent the finest of Irish architecture and we wish everybody involved the best of luck in the weeks ahead as they prepare their work for exhibition.”

Within ‘The Lives of Spaces’, each of the nine pieces explore the central role of space in our society, how it frames and structures the patterns and practices of our collective life. Included are projects currently in design and construction, as well as examinations of existing spaces. The exhibition involves many new collaborations and experiments, which open up new ways of envisaging, designing and understanding space.

The spatial character and the life in use of the recently opened Youth Centre in Tallaght will be investigated by Grainne Hassett. Gerry Cahill will examine the changing use of sacred space in Ireland, focussing on the Mercy Convent in Cork Street. Using linked sequences of perspective views O’Donnell + Tuomey will show the movement of light through the central space of An Gaeláras, a cultural centre in Derry. Patrick Lynch and Simon Walker will document the life of Bóthar Buí, the West Cork holiday home of Robin and Dorothy Walker which, despite its modest scale and character, has played a crucial role in the cultural life of the nation over many decades.

Drawing on their work on a series of cultural and civic spaces in regional centres, McCullough Mulvin will investigate the transition from space in design to space in use. Dara McGrath in association with Robinson McIlwaine will present his stark photographs of the deconstruction of the Maze/Long Kesh prison, a space of iconic political significance. De Paor Architects will show their proposed Picture Palace in Galway, focussing on the spatial journey from street to cinema. Cian Deegan and Alice Casey from TAKA will use a series of domestic projects to consider the ritual character of home space. Grafton Architects are to present a film, which considers the relationship of interior space and city in two recent projects – the Universita Luigi Bocconi in Milan and their office development for the OPW on Merrion Row in Dublin.

The chosen venue for The Lives of Spaces is Palazzo Giustinian Lolin, a palace on the Gran Canal next to the Accademia Bridge. The scale, character and decoration of these typically Venetian rooms will provide a setting appropriate for the exhibition’s theme. Furniture in the exhibition has been supplied as sponsorship by Arper, Italy.

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