Now in its 14th year, Waterford Festival of Architecture works towards enhancing the understanding and appreciation of architecture among the wider community, including creative practitioners of other artistic disciplines. This year’s Festival is taking place in association with ID2015, Waterford City and County Council and The Dept. of Architecture WIT. The theme of this year’s festival is Origins and will encourage the public to engage with the city and suburbs on a more intimate level, with visits to public buildings, lectures, events, tours and walks – all the while exploring different aspects of the theme in city and county.
Highlights of the 2015 programme include The Mies Van Der Rohe International Exhibition 2015 running from 13-21 October at The Garden Room in The Medieval Museum. This year, five Irish based architects were included in the shortlist of 40 projects for the prestigious European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture – Mies Van Der Rohe Award and are included in this international exhibition. It is a great honour to have Waterford City and County Council’s Architect’s Department recognised and shortlisted for their stunning design of The Medieval Museum.
There will be talks and interviews with various practitioners, including Michael Kelly of Grow It Yourself (GIY), together with Mike Haslam, Solearth Architecture who will introduce the new GIY headquarters in Waterford. DIT Architecture Graduates and IDA Ireland will present INDUSTRIA 15 Symposium, in which the graduates looked at the development of Waterford in order to make a series of architectural proposals and evoke discussion.
This year Waterford City and County Council, in association with the Waterford Festival of Architecture, are launching a new event called Behind Closed Doors. The aim of this event is to celebrate Waterford’s rich and varied architecture by creating opportunities to visit properties, not normally open to the public. A number of impressive and previously unseen buildings are featured in this exciting new event for Waterford’s Festival of Architecture. Of special interest is the Masonic Hall, new award-winning apartments at Chairman’s Arch, conservation works at Cathedral Square, the new Respond! Housing project at St John’s, and Newtown School. DHB Architects open their doors to exhibit their modern revamped office, and the event concludes with a visit to the new Waterford Distillery located at the site of a brewery dating from 1775.
Waterford’s Masonic Lodge may not be known by many. Freemasonry has been known to exist in Waterford City since the mid 1700s. The Masonic Lodge of Waterford sits quietly in between a mixture of businesses and services on the Waterside, and has done so for many years. Approximately 80 members belong to the Waterford premises in which two separate Lodges meet. Freemasonry (which is often shrouded with mystery) is a social institution which can be found across the globe and is one of the world’s oldest traditional and fraternal organisations, with origins from the 14th Century.
Chairman’s Arch, just off Cathedral Square, is an exciting addition to the physical, social and economic regeneration of Waterford City. The scheme has proven to successfully rehabilitate the heart of Waterford’s historic core with the addition of repopulating a derelict area and providing much needed social housing through a sustainable urban living model. The recently completed scheme was designed by Waterford Council’s housing architect Edward Delehanty with CJ Falconer & Associates project managing the works. The design delivers a modern housing scheme in one of the oldest streets in the oldest part of Waterford and is a fine example for future developments. One of the apartments will be accessed as a part of this guided tour.
St. John’s College is a protected structure and is of great historical importance to the people of Waterford. The College was designed by the architect George Goldie and opened in 1871. After over 100 years as a theological college, the building was vacated in 1990 and had lain empty until the approved housing body and charity Respond! purchased it in 2007. Waterford’s St. John’s College is in the process of being transformed into a landmark facility for the accommodation and care of older people. This will be the only chance to view this special project before it officially opens.
The Waterford Distillery is situated on a very special site on Grattan Quay which has a brewing legacy that is synonymous with the city since 1775. The original building was first Strangman’s brewery, and then later became Cherry’s Brewery. The structures represent one of the earliest surviving industrial buildings in the grounds and much of the originally machinery remains intact.
In 2004 RKD Architects designed an exceptional state-of-the-art facility for Diageo to brew Guinness on the same site. The brewery closed again in 2013 and lay dormant until late 2014 when renowned London wine and spirit merchant, Mark Reynier bought the site and converted it into a distillery. Works are still ongoing on this very interesting project, follow their journey on waterforddistillery.ie.
The festival runs from the 13 – 18 October 2015. Booking is required for a number of the above buildings. Please check wfa.ie for booking details and more information on these events, amongst others.