Children become architects for a day
By Richie Mccarthy
An opportunity to explore the difference between modern homes and those of days gone by will be provided to children as part of Open House Galway, the architecture event which takes place from October 16 to 18. Children from seven to 12-years-old are invited to the Galway City Museum, where workshops will encourage them to think about their environment. The workshops take place on Saturday October 17 and are free of charge, places must be pre-booked at www.openhousegalway.ie
The children will first draw pictures of their own homes and discuss the various rooms in a modern house. Then, they will be taken on a short tour of the museum model of the original Claddagh village, taking in the spectacular view of the Claddagh from the museum’s ‘glass box’. The tour will include Máirtín Oliver, the traditional Galway hooker dedicated to the last King of the Claddagh to sail a working Galway hooker.
“We wanted to have something practical and hands-on for children, to get them to become aware of the built environment”, said Lorna Maguire (ALL3D), coordinator of the steering group organising Open House Galway. “Young children are so creative and imaginative and I believe that these workshops will encourage them to become more aware
of architecture design.”
Museum educators Brendan McGowan and Tom Doyle who will facilitate the workshops, will describe the little cottages which accommodated large families. As it was a fishing village fishing nets, and lobster pots were also stored indoors. The children will hear how the gable facing the wind was higher than the other to deflect the wind, how the half door originated from a government tax on windows which gave rise to the saying ‘daylight robbery’, and how environmentally-friendly the cottages were. The walls were of local stone, the door was wooden (often salvaged) and the roof was typically of sods from the bay. Always whitewashed, this helped keep them warm in winter and cool in summer.
Children will then return to the museum’s ground floor for a ‘house-building’ session, where they will be shown how to construct their own 2D models of the original Claddagh cottage, using materials including straw, paper, and lollipop sticks.
The simple but powerful concept of Open House – opening buildings of architectural quality to the public and providing an educational and enjoyable experience - was conceived 16 years ago in London by founder Victoria Thornton. In Ireland, the Irish Architecture Foundation initiated Open House Dublin in 2006, which takes place this year from October 8 to 16 with approximately 15,000 people expected to participate in its architecture building visits, walking, boat, and cycling tours.
All Open House events are free of charge and only a small number will require pre-booking. A full programme of events, as well as pre-booking facilities is available at: www.openhousegalway.ie