Sandra O'Connell

Sandra O'Connell

Practice: Sandra O'Connell
Established: 2002
City: Dublin
Country: Ireland
www.architecturenow.ie
sandra@architectureireland.ie

Dr Sandra O'Connell writes on Irish architecture and literature - two interests close to her heart. Since 2002, she has been editor of the RIAI's journal 'Architecture Ireland', committed to excellence in Irish architectural practice and thought. Sandra believes that quality architecture empowers all our lives and founded HOUSE architecture design magazine for the RIAI, which communicates the value of architecture to a wider audience. Since 2006 Sandra has been curator of Ireland's largest architectural event - Open House Dublin, which inspires citizens about their architecture by providing unique access - run by the Irish Architecture Foundation and based on the long-standing London event. Sandra has published extensively on Irish architecture and literature and contributed to many conferences. She is currently editing a new book on Irish Architecture 09/10 for the RIAI and a collection of essays on the Modernist Irish-Russian poet George Reavey.

Sandra O'Connell

Do you think our profession is diverse enough? Irish women architects are playing a key role in Ireland and abroad - from Shelley McNamara and Yvonne Farrell of Grafton Architects, winners of the World Architecture Award for Bocconi University Milan, to Stirling-Prize-nominated Sheila O'Donnell (O'Donnell + Tuomey). Women architects are well represented in local authorities and head up successful practices. With the issue of diversity less based on gender in Ireland, it would be important to see more young people from disadvantaged backgrounds participate in the profession.
Who are your role models who inspire you? As editor of 'Architecture Ireland', it has been inspiring to interview many successful Irish women architects - from Dublin City Architect Ali Grehan to Selma Harrington, President of the Architects Council of Europe. Most recently, I interviewed Angela Brady after her election as RIBA President 2011/12 and was inspired by her passion and dedication to the profession. Equally empowering are the smaller practices in Ireland - often run by husband-and-wife teams who produce truly innovative work.
What do you find most rewarding in your area of work? Particularly in the current economic downturn it is inspiring to see architects being recognised for their contribution to society - from the electoral success of Angela Brady to emerging practices picking up architectural awards. It is heartening to see Irish architecture increasingly recognised abroad with Irish practices winning prestigious projects such as Heneghen Peng's footbridge for the London Olympics, O'Donnell + Tuomey's new London School of Economics abroad and Grafton Architects new Faculty of Eonomics for the University of Toulouse.