Who We Are & Our Process

Who We Are

Open Heart City is a collaboration between the Open Heart City Collective and CoLab, drawn together by the Centre for Ethics in Public Life at University College Dublin. The project is assisted by M.Arch. students from UCD School of Architecture & Queen’s University Belfast School of Architecture and LLM students from the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway. The project is already in a budding coalition with many other concerned organisations and community leaders who are beginning to articulate a shared vision for the site of the former Magdalene Laundry at Sean McDermott Street.

The project leaders are Professor Hugh Campbell, Head of the School of Architecture, Planning and Environmental Policy at University College Dublin, and Associate Professor Katherine O’Donnell of the School of Philosophy at University College Dublin.

Our Process

Together, we are working to solicit and support considered, creative responses to the future development of this complex, storied urban site. We want to develop proposals that are fully cognisant of the forces which are at work – social, economic, political and cultural – and which are the context for the city’s most precarious and vulnerable human lives and built environment.

A key part of the Open Heart City project is CoLab’s plan for a consultation process involving workshops with a range of stakeholders and the local community, leading to the production of a Vision Document and a temporary Pavilion on the site. Crucially, the consultation process will incorporate the views of survivors of Ireland’s Magdalene institutions and related abuses, many of whom have contributed to previous discussions of memorialisation.

Open Heart City brings the discipline of architecture into collaboration with the expertise of many other academic disciplines in order to harness innovative ways of thinking, diverse methods of working and a variety of forms of communication which can unlock and bring new life to this complex urban place. Our project provides a template for how architectural practice might work in concert with other disciplines, drawing on their insights and methods to achieve broader, deeper, more robust ways of operating in the contemporary city.