Architecture in the centre of Dublin is mainly Georgian and Victorian and I haven’t seen many examples of early 20th Century Modernist style buildings – Art Nouveau, Art Deco and the like. Perhaps not surprising as Ireland went through difficult times during the first half of the 20th Century – Uprisings, Revolution, Civil War and economic difficulties. However, last Sunday while heading back to the car from the National Gallery I spotted a building at the bottom end of Kildare Street, near St Stephen’s Green which had some features that were clearly Art Deco inspired.
In particular the long vertical windows on the front and side of the building
and the murals depicting idealised labourers – almost “Socialist Realist” in style
A little research revealed that it was originally built for the Department of Industry and Commerce, being completed in 1942. and is now the headquarters of the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. It was designed by James Rupert Boyd Barrett after a competition.The Buildings of Ireland website describes the premises as “one of Dublin’s most interesting twentieth-century architectural gems.” However, for the archiseek website “The exterior is robust and austere with the exception of the art deco relief sculptures”