Build Something Modern tells the story of a hidden canon of Irish architecture; groundbreaking young architects who pushed the boundaries of Irish design, with surprisingly little recognition at home. From the 1950’s to the 1970’s adventurous architects, including Seán Rothery, Richard Hurley and Gerald Fay, eager to be among the first Irish modernists, travelled to Africa for excitement and creative freedom. At the same time, other Irish architects fresh out of university, were also given the opportunity to design modern buildings in Africa, but remarkably never got to see them.
These structures, including churches, seminaries, hospitals and schools, were, for the most part, built as part of a massive community effort. They were coordinated by Catholic missionaries, often without a contractor, and generally with an absent architect.This ad-hoc system of design by correspondence was also a common practice in the building of Dublin under British rule. Creating buildings by rote produced its own special brand of construction, where scale, materials and interior design were adaptable to the environment and to the whims of the bishops.
Reworking stunning imagery from both the personal archives of the architects and recruitment films made by the missions, the film encompasses Still Film’s unique visual and storytelling style. Build Something Modern is a touching and revealing film about people and the special relationship they have with the things they created.
Paul Rowley and Nicky Gogan will attend the screening