2010 Notebooks and Narratives: The Secret Laboratory

I was invited to take part in this touring exhibition of architects sketchbooks by the curator Paul Clarke of the University of Ulster

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.

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