How do you solve a problem like Clongriffin?
So what do you do with a place that’s merely a fragment of what was planned? Clongriffin, on the north fringe of Dublin, was supposed to have a population of 30,000 to 40,000, with all the communal facilities they would need. But construction ground to a halt when the bubble burst, leaving the area’s residents high and dry. Enter Designing Dublin , a unique initiative by Design 21st Century, founded by Jean Byrne and Jim Dunne, who are both members of the Crafts Council of Ireland with backgrounds in business. Dunne was inspired by an exhibition at the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art about how design could address current challenges.
They brought in Vannesa Ahuactzin, a young American architect who did a year’s programme at the Institute Without Boundaries in Toronto, which specialises in design innovation and inter-professional collaboration.
“We see the designer as a problem solver with the ability to effect positive change for humanity,” says its website.
The outcome was Designing Dublin: learning to learn , a pilot project to show how it’s possible to bring together people from different backgrounds to work together intensively for three months – an experience that would be transformational for them and “could transform this country in the next five years”, according to Jean Byrne.