Thanks to those who participated in this year’s Simon Open Door

We would just like to say thank you to those who participated in this year’s Open Door event. Eoghan and I were delighted to be able to give our time again this year for such a good cause and really enjoyed it. We met some great people and saw some interesting projects, from the very small to large and hope our advice was useful. The RIAI have told us that so far €23,250 has been made this year for Simon Communities, but there are still some architects, ourselves included, still accepting bookings for those who missed the date.

For more information, you can book with us or other participating architects directly or by contacting Clare Finglas of the RIAI.


Why Simon Open Door is like Speed-dating



The call has gone out for architects to participate in one of the more interesting working days of the year – that day when architects get to put on their stethescopes, and diagnose people’s house problems (“it’s nothing terminal, just some minor surgery”.  “That 1980′s extension needs to come off immediately to prevent contagion!”).

We get one hour to learn about a home and the people who live there, so it feels much like speed dating.  In speed dating (I imagine) you need to find out about the personality of that other, both in the information they give, but also how they express themselves, those un-sayable, tacit clues that suggest a lifestyle and a value system.  There is no formula here, or if there it is more complicated than I know or can explain.

In past Simon Open Door meet-ups, we found some people have come to us with little experience of architects, and really just want to know what skills we have that can help them.  Others have strong feelings about what they want and are looking for advice about how to take the next step.  Others again are at the scribble stage, and want to explore  in a fun way the possibilities of what can be done, either in the shapes and forms their house can take, or in the type of lifestyle that their house can potentially afford them.  And sometimes we need to guess which is which, so we can hone in on what to talk about.

Every person we deal with is different, so it’s a constant challenge, and this keeps us on our toes. We try not to be fickle – we’re the ones looking to settle down into a steady relationship.   Although it’s really all about that one hour, and giving people a taste of what they can achieve, or letting them down gently if they expect us to do it all there and then; remember, there is only so much that we can do in 60 minutes, as every working person can attest! (and we expect to go on  few dates before going that far!)   Yet we can’t begin to predict what the next person through the door, or through whose front door we cross, will want in that hour.  The only constant is to  keep drawing, prompting, suggesting and hope that we can help in some small way – and knowing that we are doing something at the same time for the Simon community.

* The Simon Open Door is run in conjunction with the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI).  For more information on the Open Door initiative go to  To book a consultation with MCOS directly click here

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