2010 Notebooks and Narratives: The Secret Laboratory

This exhibition of Architects notebooks has been on tour:

2012: Dublin City Council, Civic Offices, Wood Key
2011: Fumbally Exchange Dublin
2011: Cork City Hall
2011: University College Dublin
2010: University of Ulster

2010: Place, The architecture centre in Belfast


The Secret Laboratory reveals the hidden world of the architect’s sketchbook. This selection of work by local, national and international architects from Ireland North and South shows the quality of ideas, observations, thoughts and reflections that are often concealed in a drawer in the studio, a coat pocket or in the individual imagination of the architect.

In our digital age, the drawing and the sketch still have their value as being fundamental to artistic, theoretical and architectural practice. We are familiar with the practice of the sketchbook as used by architects on the ‘Grand Tour’ – to record their journey – but what of the everyday observations, of things half seen, imagined and remembered, that inspire architects and in turn are captured in their notebooks?

What ideas do we carry with us in our pocket? How do we use the ‘device’ of the personal sketchbook/notebook? How has its use changed with time and the digital age?

Revealed now in The Secret Laboratory: a series of private reflections made public. The architects whose work is featured range from practitioners to writers, lecturers, critics and artists.

Grafton Architects
O’ Donnell + Tuomey
Tom De Paor
Shane O ‘Toole
Peter Cody
Ciaran Mackel
Tarla MacGabhann
Paul Clarke
Nigel Murray
Seamus Lennon
Nigel Peake
Niall O’Hare
Michael Doherty
Susie Carson
Gerry Cahill

Curator Paul Clarke is a writer, lecturer and architect based in the School of Architecture and Design at the University Of Ulster in Belfast, where he is course director for the Master of Architecture programme. He has written for various architectural magazines and has collaborated on books on the work of Charles Rennie Mackintosh. This exhibition is curated as part of a wider research project.

Notebooks and Narratives: The Secret Laboratory is a joint exhibition between PLACE and the University of Ulster, co-designed and built by Niall O’Hare.