Public Works As A Barometer Of Social Priorities

8 March 2016 5:00 pm at SAUL Studio

Speaker: Angela Rolfe

The Office of Public Works (OPW), or “Board of Works” as it has also been called, was established in 1831 by an Act of Parliament. Historically, the office had responsibility for drainage schemes and other large civil and public engineering projects. Today, it is the Government’s principal engineering agency, advising on the management of everything from flood risks to estate portfolios. Among its chief responsibilities are the ownership, upkeep and maintenance of government and historic buildings in Ireland. The OPW has responsibility for the care of 780 heritage sites in Ireland, including national monuments, historic parks, gardens and buildings.

Angela Rolfe has been the Assistant Principal Architect in the Office of Public Works (OPW) for the past decade, and since 2009 she is also Head of Property Maintenance in an organisation that owns over 1,000 sites and buildings. Her past projects include the Restoration and Conference Facilities at Dublin Castle, Department of the Taoiseach and Government Buildings, the Chester Beatty Library, and the Restoration of the Birr Telescope. She is currently responsible for a programme of Accessibility Works at Áras an Uachtaráin and the implementation of the Decentralised Offices Programme.

“Futures of the past” looks at buildings of the past and how we think about their future. Aware of the necessarily creative and destructive role of architecture we hold a deep interest in what exists. This series of talks is a public forum intended to address a range of questions on architecture’s role, past and present. The current suite of lectures focuses on architects in the role of curators of historic buildings as well as the technologies of preservation.