This free two-day public conference seeks to explore the street conflicts in Dublin from 1916 to 1922, as key moments and aspects in pursuit of Irish independence, which led to major architectural destruction, and which in turn brought about significant urban rebuilding schemes. Thinking about the physical make-up of the city, especially the commercial spaces of Dublin’s north city centre, much of how we move through, spend time in and experience the city comes out of these 1920s reconstruction projects. So then, the scars of conflict and the efforts towards rebuilding resonate through Dublin’s architecture today, almost 100 years later.
In reality, conflict underpins architectural, and especially urban history. Its processes of destruction and then reconstruction have made and remade cities across the world and through time. Dublin is not unique in this. We want to gather architects, historians, archaeologists and geographers together to share research and knowledge about what happened to Dublin’s buildings and streets during the 1916 Rising, and through the heady years of 1921 and 1922; while unpacking elements of the reconstruction of Dublin from 1917 and then, from 1924. But as well as that, we want to place Dublin in a greater European context, and to draw on contrasting and comparative examples of conflict’s role in city formation.
Staying in the twentieth century, this two-day public conference will present research into various architectures of war and cities in repair: from contemporary Beirut to Blitz-time London; from Cold War bunkers to Belfast’s peace-lines. Presentations will be highly visual and varied. Taken together, the two days of papers will highlight issues of renewal, rupture, defence, bias, heroism, vision – throwing light on the complex effects of conflict upon urban architecture.
The early 20th-century Irish revolutionary period has left many legacies, not the least of which was a direct impact on architecture. From the loss of buildings destroyed to the debates about how to repair the city fabric and on to the rebuilding itself, there is ample scope to reflect on the physical impact of the Easter Rising, the War of Independence and the Civil War, in particular on central Dublin. Exploring some of these architectural legacies, Capstones Shift is a programme of lectures, exhibitions, conferences, film screenings and publications presented by Dublin City Council and University College Dublin Decade of Centenaries with the support of The Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and in association with Architecture Ireland, Ireland 2016, The Irish Architectural Archive, The Irish Architecture Foundation, The Irish Film Institute, The National Inventory of Architectural Heritage, The National Library of Ireland and The Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland.
Open at the Irish Architectural Archive from 10 May: Capstones Shift: architectural legacies of the revolutionary period in Dublin
This exhibition draws exclusively on the holdings of the Irish Architectural Archive to focus on a selection of prominent Dublin buildings destroyed or utterly changed by the events of Easter 1916 and later. The shock of widespread building damage was felt first in Dublin and reoccurred there more often than in other affected locations, while the quality of some of the building destroyed, coupled with the fact that Dublin became the capital of the a newly created state, brought a particular intensity to the debates around loss and rebuilding.