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First Quarter

First Quarter

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In this reflective and enriching memoir, John Tuomey navigates the places and memories of his life over the scope of twenty-five years. First recognised for the urban regeneration of Dublin’s Temple Bar, which included the construction of the Irish Film Institute, the National Photographic Archive and Gallery of Photography, his life in architecture led him to design social and cultural spaces such as the Lyric Theatre in Belfast, the Glucksman Gallery in UCC and the Victoria & Albert East Museum in London.
Imbued with many inter-textual references to poetry, drama and literature and written in limpid prose, this memoir is inherently literary in nature. Tuomey looks back to his early life where he was born in Tralee and lived in different counties around Ireland, from small towns to country landscapes, from schooldays in Dundalk to student activism at University College Dublin. He traces the pathways that led to his formation as an architect, reflecting on the many cultural and social influences on his life. He excels in capturing the social landscape of Dublin in the 1980s and pays particular attention to the many buildings and social hubs of the inner city. His transient years of moving from Dublin to London, and subsequently working in places like Nairobi and Milan, chronicle the international influences on his outlook. The key relationships in his life, including meeting his future wife, Sheila – a fellow student of architecture in UCD – and his pivotal employment by James Stirling in 1976, form the backbone of his personal and professional life.
Tuomey’s expertise in his field is unsurpassed, with meticulous detail given to the finer aspects of design and architecture. His thoughts on the challenges facing the encroaching erasure of city life in Dublin are essential reading for anyone with an interest in the future of building in the city.
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