Latest from ATelier francis

Architecture, Design, Exhibition, Research

From June 15th to August 27th “Experiments in Urban Re-use, regeneration, culture and architecture in the Ravenna Docklands”, work by the cultural association Meme Exchange and the architectural firms Officina Meme and Atelier Francis will be exhibited in Dublin Castle as part of the ‪#‎GlobalIrishDesign Challenge exhibition.


Global Irish Design Challenge Social Media Promotion Image



The project ‘Experiments in Urban Re-use’ will be presented at ‪#‎GIDC Exhibition as a portolan navigational chart, a cube like a shipping crate, that can be reassembled and transported elsewhere.


13340261_665371983616852_1829277416436760236_o 13415617_665372110283506_8704553356969132974_o 13433352_665372186950165_2536183955415434485_o


 “culture-led redevelopment of urban areas … should be promoted to preserve the social fabric, improve economic returns and increase competitiveness, by giving impetus to a diversity of intangible cultural heritage practices as well as contemporary creative expressions”.  The Hangzhou Declaration on Sustainable Development


List of  selected projects at…/

Design & Crafts Council of Ireland DCCoI Events Irish Design 2015 ‪#‎irishdesign




Architecture, Exhibition

Ireland at Expo Milano 2015

Irish Pav. Expo15 Ext. 16


“In the same way that Irish food is both hand crafted, sustainable and made to modern standards the Irish pavilion is an architectural abstraction of these same goals. Ireland is a lush green island on the edge of Europe. The curved shaped pavilion is set within a water pool with a sail like wood wall of boat like construction. Delicate and ethereal light is modulated by the water pool and small gaps in the curved wall such that the strong Italian light is softened like Irish light. A green roof garden gives views over the whole Expo campus while also providing a special rooftop event space.”


Irish Pav. Expo15 Ext. 18



The Irish pavilion is designed by Ciarán O’Connor and Gerard Harvey of the Office of Public Works using local wood for a sustainable design with a very low carbon footprint. The architectural design is therefore an environmental response and not just a national statement to the sustainability ideals of this Expo.

The Irish Design Team was assisted by local architects and engineers including:

Milan Ingegneria

BMMC Architecture

Elizabeth Francis of ‘Atelier Francis’ - Participant Technical Supervisor


Irish Pav. Expo15 Int. 173_ Irish Pav. Expo15 Ext. 55

Photos Daniele Domenicali


The Project was awarded a ‘Towards a Sustainable Expo Player’ Award  for Building Concept and Construction. On the 5th June 2015 the Italian Minister for the Environment, Gian Luca Galletti, and the United Nations Environmental Programme Director, Achim Steiner, visited the Irish Pavilion and presented the award plaque.


Ireland Pavilion at Expo Milano 2015

Expo Milano 2015, 01 May 2015 to 31 October 2015




Exhibition, Research

DIS-CONNECTED MEME: Experiments in Urban Reuse 4




11-12-13 October 2014, Ravenna

DIS-CONNECTED is the experimentation of a social, economic, cultural, technological and sustainable model of reuse of abandoned spaces in the contemporary city.


The cultural association MEME invites you to DIS-CONNECTED at the historical headquarters of the TSN National Shooting Range in Via Cavalcoli 9, Ravenna


This event represents the fourth stage of the project Experiments in Urban Reuse, begun two years ago in the Ravenna city Docklands, as an instrument of active experimentation and reinterpretation of how to reenergise decommissioned spaces from a grassroots level.


The inauguration takes place during the Notte d’Oro (Golden Night) festival on Saturday October 11th 2014 from 5.00pm.


and the presentation of Experiments in Urban Reuse by meme exchange and of the project “Casa dei Creativi – the prototype”

(Architects MC.Garavelli, E.Francis, E.Greco, C.Bellini, L.Bissi)


Schermata 2014-10-06 alle 09.14.02

The event will conclude on Monday October 13th with the arrival of the European Commission jury for the Capital of Culture 2019.


This event is curated by Meme Exchange and the TSN Ravenna, in partnership with Ravenna 2019.


Follow the event on facebook




Architecture, Research





Meme Exchange has presented the project “Experiments in Urban Re-Use, Regeneration, Culture and Architecture in the Ravenna Docklands. The Tsn – Tiro a Segno Nazionale” at the 2014 International Union of Architects World Congress in Durban South Africa from August 3-7.

Schermata 2014-10-06 alle 10.12.30

The UIA congress is held every three years and it is the most important meeting of architects in the world. This year the theme was ‘Architecture Otherwhere’ and it was attended by 4.213 delegates from 102 countries.




Meme Exchange, represented by architect Elizabeth Francis, presented an academic paper on the Ravenna project in the congress section ‘Ecology’. The paper was selected through a double blind peer review process and describes the events that the architects and cultural association have been pursuing with a view to the regeneration of the TSN historical site as part of the Ravenna 2019 European City of Culture bid.


It presented for the first time the new design for an OFF-GRID PROTOTYPE BUILDING that will facilitate events in abandoned spaces.



Schermata 2014-10-06 alle 10.05.57


I SUONI DELLA PAROLA – Sounds of Words

The Italo-Irish Literature Exchange holds its first event in Bologna. Poets and writers from Ireland will meet the Italian poets from Gruppo 77.
Readings in English, Italian, Gaelic and dialect are followed by a discussion on the musicality of language and the role of poetry in society.

This event is supported by Culture Ireland and endorsed by the IWF, The Irish Writer’s Centre, Il Dipartimento di Lingue Letterature e Culture Moderne of the University of Bologna, Gruppo 77 and the Biblioteca delle Donne.




Exhibition, Research

Lightness by Meme – Powered by PechaKucha – Ravenna Notte d’Oro



Shifting Ground at the National Sculpture Factory Cork


The last event in the National Tour of the Ireland at Venice 2012 exhibition will open in Cork on Friday September 20th 2013.

Shifting Ground – Beyond National Architecture


Albert Road, Cork City, Cork

Exhibition opening on CULTURE NIGHT 2013Friday September 20th at 5pm.




The exhibition is open from Friday September 20th to Friday September 27th.

Opening Hours

September 20 – Culture Night, 5 to 8.30 pm
September 21 – 12noon to 4pm
September 23 to 27 – 12 noon to 4pm


Ireland at Venice at the Galway Arts Festival

Pictured at the opening of Galway Arts Festival’s ABSOLUT Festival Gallery are L-R: Visual artists Róisín Coyle, Pat Collins, Elizabeth Francis, Richard Gilligan, John Crumlish, Chief Executive of Galway Arts Festival, Elizabeth Sheehan, Marketing Manager of ABSOLUT, Paul Fahy, Galway Arts Festival Artistic Director and Eugene Downes. Photo: Colm Hogan.


Ireland at Venice exhibition at the Galway Arts Festival in July 2013.


The show included the Irish exhibits at 2012 Venice Biennale “COMMON GROUND”.

Pavilion of Ireland 2012 “SHIFTING GROUND – Beyond National Architecture”

Grafton Architects’ “Architecture as New Geography” winner of the Silver Lion award

O’Donnell and Tuomey Architects  - “Vessel”


DATES: Monday JULY 15th to Sunday July 28th 2013.

Exhibition opening Sunday July 14th 2013


Galway Arts Festival 2013


Ireland at Venice 2012 exhibition opens in Dublin.


The exhibition celebrating the return of Ireland’s representation at the Venice Architecture Biennale 2012 opened on Friday May 10th in Dublin’s CHQ Building in the Docklands.


The national representation features the work of heneghan peng architects, while the exhibition also features two other architecture firms that exhibited in the Biennale. Grafton Architects and O’Donnell & Tuomey Architects were invited to participate in the Biennale by the Artistic Director, internationally renowned architect David Chipperfield. The former won the prestigious Silver Lion Award at the Biennale.


Shifting Ground – Beyond National Architecture: For the Irish Pavilion at the 13th International Architecture Exhibition – Shifting Ground. In a site specific response, heneghan peng architects designed an oscillating ‘bench’ that invites visitors to balance their respective weights. The work considers issues of geometry and number in the architects’ work, while the level of the ‘bench’ was measured from the mark of the acqua alta (water line) on the old brickwork of the Arsenale building in Venice.


Grafton Architects were awarded the Silver Lion for their exhibition ‘Architecture as New Geography’. The exhibit explores themes of ‘architecture as new geography’ and ‘abstracted landscape’, focussing on two structures by two different architectural practices, forming a sense of ‘Common Ground’. The two structures are, the Brazilian architect Mendes daRocha’s Serra Dourada Stadium in Goiania, Brazil and Grafton Architects’ university campus in Lima.


O’Donnell and Tuomey Architects invited practitioners to contribute to their installation “Vessel”. The title “Vessel” has associations with both circulation and craft, and is suggestive of embodiment, enshrinement and containment. “Our Common Ground is collected under this heading, highlighting the relation of ideas, objects, and materials that combine , inform and influence our work”.


This is the first exhibition in the national tour of the Irish representation in Venice which will be shown as part of the Galway Arts Festival in July and at the National Sculpture Factory in Cork in September.


The exhibition opened to coincide with the EFAP European Forum on Architectural Poilicy conference, part of Ireland”s EU Presidency events.


On opening the exhibition Minister Quinn said, “This exhibition is a celebration of the success, nationally and internationally, of the achievements of contemporary Irish architecture. High quality design will be a key element in the delivery of a sustainable future.”


L-R Yvonne Farrell, Shelley McNamara (Grafton Architects), Ruairì Quinn T.D. Minister for Education and Skills,  Elizabeth Francis Commissioner for Ireland.



VENUE: The CHQ Building, Docklands, Dublin 1

The exhibition will be open daily for three weeks from Saturday 11th May to Sunday 2nd June 2013.


Ireland at Venice is an initiative of Culture Ireland, in partnership with the Arts Council, the Irish Government agency for funding and developing the arts.

The Irish tour of Ireland’s representation at the Venice Architecture Biennale 2012 is supported by the Arts Council as part of its commitment to promote architecture to Irish audiences.

Supported by the Government Programme on Architecture 2013 Implementation Programme.


IRELAND AT VENICE exhibition in Dublin

The Ireland at Venice 2012 exhibition opens in Dublin at the CHQ building on Friday May 10th.




Celebrating Ireland’s participation in the Venice Architecture Biennale 2012 and Grafton Architects’ outstanding achievement in winning the Silver Lion, Ireland at Venice presents installations by heneghan peng architects (national representation), Grafton Architects, and O’Donnell and Tuomey Architects, each made specifically for the Biennale, in Dublin’s historic tobacco warehouse Stack A/CHQ. The three exhibits explore rich and diverse correspondences between sites and artforms, exploring the possibilities of architectural representation.


The exhibition will be open daily for three weeks from Saturday 11th May to Sunday 2nd June 2013.


Shifting Ground on Facebook and on Twitter @shifting_ground


The CHQ Building, IFSC, Docklands, Dublin 1



First Encounter


With George Boyle of  The Fumbally Exchange in conversation with Una Mullally in the Irish Times Magazine.


ASTEROID landing 2013



Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


Pavilion of Ireland – last day at la Biennale.


On Sunday November 25 th the 13th International Architecture Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia closed it’s doors to the public. This year over 178,000 visitors came to the Biennale with and average of 2,000 visitors a day.

The Shifting Ground exhibit in the Irish Pavilion, an oscillating bench designed by heneghan peng architects was very well received by the public and their engagement with the piece exceeded what the design team had envisiged.

If you did not get to see the exhibit in Venice you will have a chance next year when it will tour Ireland, opening in Dublin in early May 2013.

Movement locked, lights off until then.


More images of the last day at the Irish Pavilion here.

Exhibition, Research

Experiments in Urban Re-Use, Ravenna October 20th


On October 20th as part of the Notte d’Oro festival the TSN Ravenna will open the doors of it’s historical buildings to the public. This site is unique in the port area of Ravenna and for one night will become and open-air gallery and will host an exhibition of international projects on urban transformation. atelier Francis will be there along with Ri-generazione urbana, Basso Profilo, Fumbally Exchange, Cooperativa le Ali and Khaapins!. The Fumbally Exchange from Dublin will show their co-operative design hub presented by founding director George Boyle.


Full programme here: Notte D’Oro Ravenna and on facebook


October EDUCATION event at the Irish Pavilion


Students and staff from the School of Architecture University College Dublin came to the Venice Architecture Biennale for their third year study trip. While there they had a presentation on SHIFTING GROUND at the Irish Pavilion by Commisioner Elizabeth Francis when the oscillating bench was tested to its maximum capacity as 52 students balanced and shifted their respective weights.

The group participated in the BIENNALE SESSIONS holding a seminar in the Giardini and attended a seminar on Urban Civilisation by Professor Metschl at VIU, Venice International University at their campus on Isolo San Servolo.


UCD School of Architecture




Exhibition, Research

Elizabeth Francis speaking at the RIAI Annual Conference

The title for the RIAI conference this year is “Architecture Ethical Practise, the role of the architect in a constantly changing world”. The keynote speaker is David Chipperfield, Director of the 2012 Venice Architecture Biennale. As Commissioner of the Pavilion of Ireland at the Biennale, Elizabeth Francis will present the Irish approach to Common Ground during the session “The Role of the Architect”.  She will speak along with Constantin Gurdgiev, Dr Kieran Allen, and Selma Harrington President of the Architects’ Council of Europe. This will be followed by a  panel discussion chaired by RIAI president Michelle Fagan.




Photo by Marie-Louise Halpenny

Róisín Heneghan and Shih-Fu Peng on the Irish Pavilion installation.


The Pavilion of Ireland is located at the end of the Artiglierie in the Arsenale; it is composed of a series of wall drawings and a bench for resting. The two opposing walls transcribe the cutting matrix for the individual stones which form 2 folds in the landscape of the Giant’s Causeway Visitor’s Centre; the fold of the building and the fold of the car park. A long 12 meter bench, constructed of 6 interlinked sections, 6 rotation-only fulcrums & 5 translation pivots, provides a place to sit at the end of the Artiglierie. The bench, when at rest in balanced equilibrium is horizontal.

The soldier course, at 805mm above slab level, on the Artiglierie brick walls measures waterline and sets the height of the bench. This simple machine is brought out of stable equilibrium by sitting, changing the body’s relation to the set 805mm geometric horizon. 12 interlinked lever arms rotate; responding to a precise mechanical relationship set up between variable constraints, mass & position and fixed constraints, 11 pivot axes. A second person sitting sets in motion a second series of interconnected movements and so on with every subsequent visitor. Motion can be varied by sliding the body horizontally. This translation of mass along the bench length varies the lever arm and the resultant applied moment. Force applied at any of the 6 fulcrums (which are marked) does not vary motion; the bench remains static. The bench returns to stable equilibrium when no acting bodies are present.

The 2 opposing scripted walls are the geometric instruction set for stone fabrication both fixed & variable; that define the final cutting & set-out dimensions for the 186 basalt columns at the Giant’s Causeway Visitor’s Centre on the North Antrim Irish Coastline. The original architectural instruction set was designed to be adaptive to the unpredictable nature of the basalt extraction process. This final matrix transcribes information for each cutting template, position index, wastage/re-use ratio and maximum yield size per stone block based on inherent and induced fractures, during the 12 blast-extractions that occurred at local quarries in the 18-month construction programme.

heneghan peng architects



Launch of the Irish Pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale

The Irish Pavilion at the 13th International Architecture Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia was inaugurated by Ambassador of Ireland to Italy Patrick Hennessy.

More on

and on facebook


Countdown to Venice.


SHIFTING GROUND. Preparations are well underway for the Irish Pavilion at the Arsenale in Venice. The 13th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia will open to the public on Wednesday August 29th. The Vernissage and press preview will take place on the previous two days and the Irish Pavilion will be inaugurated on Monday August 27th at 5.30pm. So much to do, so little time…