North East Inner City, Dublin
‘[Care is] a species activity of maintaining, continuing, and repairing [the city and] the world […] that […] includes
our bodies, our selves, and our environment’
Critical Care: Architecture and Urbanism for a Broken Planet
Angelika Fitz and Elke Krasny, 2019,
Using the North East Inner City of Dublin (NEIC) as their testing ground, our final year B Arch students have responded through architectural research and design to Fitz and Krasny’s proposal for ‘critical care’ as a new paradigm for the practice of architecture. The metaphor of ‘critical care’ evokes an urgent need to reconsider our approach to city-making by tending simultaneously to the needs of the built fabric itself, to the city’s spatial and social infrastructures and to the communities who occupy them. In the case of the NEIC, it highlights the preciousness of the resource constituted by the city itself, by its buildings, society, environment and inhabitants. It speaks to a history of bold planning, grand transport infrastructure and rich industrial heritage now suffering in part from neglect, privation and divisiveness. Above all it recognises the area’s richness of spirit, and claims a place for the practice of architecture in restoring the built environment of the NEIC to the robust and sustainable health it should enjoy.
The students began their year’s work by exploring the rich history of the NEIC Dublin and the key factors in its historic and current constitution. Moving closer, they engaged with local stakeholders, agencies, experts and the City Council (even contributing to the public consultation for the new Development Plan to tease out the complex forces at play for the diverse communities living there. They made imaginative future projections for the area based on their initial research, before identifying locations for intervention through architectural design. These designs offer space for addressing key issues of public interest in the NEIC – material decay and renewal, access to housing, work, culture, education, health, food, and so on – and are motivated by a strong social and environmental aspiration.
We heartily congratulate our students on their achievements this year and wish them every success in a life in critically caring architectural practice.
Kevin Donovan, Kieran O’Brien, Sima Rouholamin
(Dublin School of Architecture)