Un-building : Reimagining the Central Bank of Ireland

University essay from KTH/Arkitektur


The focus of this thesis project is to explore the notion of a predominantly subtractive process in relation to the adaption/reuse of an existing building.  The building in question is the Central Bank of Ireland’s office headquarters in the heart of Dublin city and the reuse program is that of a new City Library. While working through this project I have become interested in a theory and practise of architecture that concentrates less on the making of a building that is formally finished and proper but on a process that reveals the act of making or “unmaking” in the case of this project.


Although always architecturally controversial in the city due to its scale and expression, the Central Bank headquarters has in recent times become emblematic of the struggle between democratic and corporate interests, becoming one of the most potent symbols of Ireland’s economic collapse. With the Banks recent decision to leave the premises a quite charged question of how to reuse the site has arisen. Current  discussion in the city is centred around either demolition or public reuse but in contrast to this polarised attitude I have attempted  to develop an alternate strategy, which I have called “Un-building”. The particular approach is adopted as a poetic response to the social and political problems this building represents but also to the particular nature of its construction.

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