Workers’ Villages is a commemoration of their legacy and an exploration of what we can learn from these villages and their designs as we move towards a sustainable future. It’s one of 15 projects from all around the country that are being funded by Creative Ireland through its €2 million Creative Climate Action fund. These projects look at how best to use creative methods to build real change within communities to fight climate change.
Frank Gibney’s legacy
In 1946, in the aftermath of ‘The Emergency’, Bord na Móna was founded in a bid to provide energy security for an independent Ireland by harvesting peat for energy production. Workers moved from all over Ireland to the midlands to build new lives with jobs with the semi-state company, and many were housed in seven different purpose-built housing schemes designed by Frank Gibney. These schemes are the focus of Workers’ Villages, and are remarkable for their long-lasting use, distinct designs, incorporation of public space, density, walkability, and liveability – veritable beacons of sustainable planning and urban design.
Designing the future of homes?
Spearheaded by the Irish Architecture Foundation and Global Action Plan, Workers’ Villages will see architect-led teams of designers and researchers examine the legacy of Gibney and his vision and explore how his principles can be applied to the changing environment, in particular as Bord na Móna moves away from the use of peat for energy production. This will be a creative process with a focus on co-design and placemaking led by the local communities involved, while partners Pure Designs Studio from Roscommon will create a film documenting the process. Students and researchers from the School of Architecture in UL will provide valuable research underpinning for this project.
Find out more about the Creative Climate Action Fund projects.