Featuring the work of emerging architects, ‘Momentum’ has opened at the Irish Architecture Foundation
The Irish Architecture Foundation (IAF) has reopened its building to visitors for the first time since March 2020 by launching a biannual exhibition called Momentum, which will present the work of emerging architects and collectives every two years. According to the IAF, the title takes its meaning from the equation for Momentum as mass multiplied by velocity; signalling a new generation of architects on a forward trajectory, who so far have amassed a considerable amount of activity and recognition.

This year’s chosen Irish architects are Noreile Breen based in Dublin and Kerry, Thomas O’Brien based between Dublin and Tipperary and plattenbaustudio based in Berlin. These architects have made site-specific work especially for the IAF’s HQ on Dublin’s Bachelor’s Walk. “Noreile Breen, Thomas O’Brien and plattenbaustudio, are re-imagining the future of architectural practice, and their work demonstrates a high degree of sensitivity to context, to the environment and to the public,” said Nathalie Weadick, Director of the IAF.

“As well as supporting the work of emerging practice this exhibition also advances the IAF’s ambition to create more opportunities to engage the public in architecture through exhibitions. We need more exhibition venues for architecture and design in Ireland,” she added.

Momentum allows space and time for the architect to test a theory, revisit an old idea afresh, or present a proposition without the constraints of the design and construction processes involved in making a building. Momentum is used as a stopping off point, a paused moment for reflection, for experiment and provocation.

As you walk down Bachelors Walk, visible on the granite steps of IAF sits a 600mm diameter 24 carat gold cone on a tripod. This outdoor contraption by Noreile Breen is an effective device to catch sunlight. Light is an important and recurrent building material for Breen. She has a particular interest in natural light and this artwork represents a development of latent ideas in her practice. The curious light instrument is small, but powerful enough to get the full effect at eye level.


A structure by Thomas O’Brien called incredibly boring and strange welcomes you as you enter the lobby. You are curious and go down the back stairs and enter the basement where the platform is revealed from the other side. The strange structure is not an object in the room; it is the room, a space that holds the person. O’Brien’s practice incorporates an on-going examination of the inter-related nature of material things and people.

On the first floor gallery is a large-scale installation All Mod Cons that presents the results of one year of research conducted by Plattenbaustudio into the typology of bedsits in Dublin’s inner city. The installation calls into question the accepted minimum standards for housing in Ireland, and seeks to add to the growing discussion around how we live, as well as the universal human need to make a home.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a publication Momentum 21 designed by Peter Maybury, with essays by Emma Lucy O’Brien, Elizabeth Hatz and Clara Herrmann and will run until the 29th of August.


Denise Maguire   Editor of Irish Construction Industry Magazine & Plan Magazine


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