… Photographers go everywhere! Seriously, I love being a photographer, it gets you into places you didn’t think you would ever be able to look at. Actually, the example I am going to give you today is not quite correct. Because access to what I saw was not granted because I was a photographer, but because of the day that was in it.
On Sunday it was the Irish Architecture Foundation’s Open House Day. All over Dublin buildings were opened to the public which are usually not open for viewing. I only came across this by coincidence – walking on Library Road in Dun Laoghaire, where the Oratory was open (which we looked at, too – strictly no photography, though). A quick search on the internet showed that there were other venues open in Dublin, among them Busaras.
Busaras is Irish and means “bus house”. (Yeh, I thought I’d impress with my superior knowledge of Irish here *ahem*…). I.e. busaras is the central bus station in Dublin. For a long time I hated the design of that building, thought it was hopelessly old-fashioned and weird looking. That attitude had long been changed and then – just a week ago – my interest in the architecture of Busaras was re-awakened in college. Why, I will tell you another time, suffice to say it involves final projects etc. Therefore I was more than pleased to see that there were free tours of Busaras available on Open House Day. So off I went, roping in my friend J___ who had thought she was going to do some street photography. Hehe, well, only from above…
The tour took us right up to the staff canteen. Initially this was built as a public restaurant – even a night club where members of the public could use the Busaras building not only for travel purposes but also for leisure activities. (For that purpose there was also a cinema in the original plan of the bus station.) Hence the canteen has architectural features that are more befitting for a public venue than for the staff canteen of the Department of Social Welfare. Like these beautiful inbuilt roof lights, dome shaped and tiled with yellow mosaic.
The whole building amazed me. It was built from 1948 until 1953. That effectively means that Michael Scott designed Busaras in the 1940s. What an amazing modern space for that time!!! Just from the look of it I had always assumed that it was a 60s design. The colours, the shape, the details seemed to suggest that. Scott was seriously ahead of his time there! And even if architecture is not the focus of my studies here, I have to say I was very interested to learn more about how this building was designed and constructed, from the first in-built hoovering system in the canteen down to the cantelevered canopy over the busses. I actually wish I had looked and admired less and taken more pictures. This would have made a lovely calendar project for some of my architecture friends… Ah well.