Brush up on your German ahead of the new cultural reawkening

Rose Martin brushes up on her German ahead of a cultural reawakening.

Brush up on your German ahead of the new cultural reawkening

Rose Martin brushes up on her German ahead of a cultural reawakening.

Even that renowned German efficiency couldn’t ensure a timely completion for the €8m redevelopment and extension of the Goethe-Institut HQ in Dublin.

It was originally pegged to open in 2016 at the project’s launch, but it’s likely that the building boom, housing shortage, and dearth of quality contractors ensured that the spanking new build and deeply retrofitted Georgian house on Merrion Square, is only now opening officially next week.

The Goethe-Institut is part of Germany’s cultural network and the building was commissioned by by the German foreign office and managed by the German federal office for building and regional planning. Henchion Reuter Architects were charged with the substantial construction project which sees an entirely new building at the rear of the historic 37 Merrion Square, which dates from 1787.

The new mews building will house the German-language department and services for teachers of German. Overall, the HQ doubles its space from 738sq m to 1756sq metres. The Georgian building, (which will have an A3 BER rating according to its architects) will house the Goethe-Institut’s staff, library and Information services, a small art gallery, expanded cultural spaces and a new café at garden level — the garden will act as a soft divide between old and new, incorporating both buildings into an open courtyard space.

“’In addition to the stunning conservation and restoration work overseen by our colleagues Shaffrey Architects, the development of the entirely new mews building is an excellent re-imagining of the Georgian site.

“We have created a beautiful and fit-for-purpose new home and garden for all of the work that the Goethe-Institut do, and have been able to incorporate previously unfeasible contemporary features, such as wheelchair access through much of the original Georgian building,” said Henhcion Reuters, Martin Henchion.

Thomas Lier, director of the Goethe-Institut Irland, is delighted the building work is done and dusted: “We are very pleased to be returning to Merrion Square and to present, to the Irish public, a very beautiful ‘one-stop shop’ for anyone interested in Germany, its language and its culture.”

No 37 Merrion Square’s re-opening will be formally celebrated with a four-day cultural programme in the building from September 20-23, which includes a number of events on Culture Night, Friday September 21.

Full programme details will be announced at the end of August on the Goethe-Institut’s website:

Open house Dublin has also launched its programme of over a 100 buildings for the viewing public to see in October 12-14 next, alongside other supporting events with an architectural theme. Open house is free to everyone, but usually, you need to get in fast to book the must-see venues, or queue early on open days. This year’s theme for the Dublin event is Tomorrow’s Past: Discover Our Future Heritage. and will feature buildings dating from the 1700s up to the present.

Bank of Ireland will partner with Open House Dublin this year for Inspiration, an event to be held at its premises on College Green on Wednesday, October 10.

Described by organisers, the Irish Architecture Foundation as “a must-attend event for anyone planning to buy, build or redesign their own home,” Inspiration will bring together a range of experts o offer advice, tips and more on all aspects of making a dream home a reality. (See above in regard to builders and costs.) Bank of Ireland’s College Green building was, as most of us know, home to the Irish Parliament before the Act of Union saw business move to Westminster.And we also know what happened from there on..don’t we?

- Finally, fair dues to Neptune, the English interiors firm with a finger in many pies, which follows a determined, down-home style that fits right in here.

Modernism, it seems, has barely moved beyond the outer ring roads of our cities and Neptune’s approach seems to chime very well with native, decorating instincts.

Also, it’s semi-franchise system sees it hit many small town stores, while the major lines confine themselves to the main nodes.

You can buy its modular kitchen furniture bit by bit, or shelving or storage units; use its paint for your walls and accessorise with its cushions, to name but a few, while confident you will never err in terms of tone or style.

That’s the beauty of what could be termed a modular approach to home interiors. Not cheap though.

Right now, its first out of the traps with new autumn paint colours and I have to say, its chestnut looks really good — the sort of flat, enveloping colour that will come alive in firelight and lamplight. See the it on the image across and also, take a look online at:

- As a final FYI — do check out the auction houses if you like Irish country style.

Monday will see Keighery’s of Waterford sell some fine linen presses for a fraction of the price of cheap new pieces.

The auction house is also listing and chairs similar to those above, as well as an impressive, painted dresserm with an estimate of around €300-€500.


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