#Architalks #UnlikelyInspiration #HerbertSimms cc @RIAIonline #MentalHealth

This post is part of the ArchiTalks series where a group of us (architects who also blog) all post on the same day and promote each other’s blogs. The Topic ‘Leader’ for this post ‘Unlikely Inspiration’ is Eric Faulkner:

As an architect who trained originally in the UK I would never have heard of the Dublin architect Herbert Simms; but now as an Irish architect I have found in recent years his name popping up again and again (especially in reference to the current Housing crisis).

Who was Herbert Simms? What did he do? And why do I think he’s an unlikely inspiration and a lesson for us all (especially to architects):

Herbert Simms was the son of a train driver and the Housing architect to Dublin Corporation from 1932 until 1948 where he is credited with designing 17,000 dwellings in Dublin and helping transform the city in the 1930s.

You can read more about his background in the Dictionary of Irish Architects HERE.

There’s also an excellent Irish Times movie on Herbert Simms (below) and the full article can be read HERE.

So what makes Herbert Simms an unlikely inspiration?

• Simms was prolific and championed good quality public housing and drew influences from the continent, where Dublin Corporation employees visited Amsterdam and Rotterdam for inspiration.

• Simms had an excellent eye for the detail and longevity of construction. A testament that his work is still around today. I can guarantee you would have seen a Herbert Simms building if you are a Dublin commuter. Below are a few examples of his buildings:

Pearse House – photography by Gary Teeling. Full article at: https://dublincityarchitecture.wordpress.com/2017/07/27/herbert-g-simms-pearse-house/

Chancery House – credit and full article at: http://www.totallydublin.ie/more/nice-gaff-architects-herbert-simms/

• Herbert Simms is a lesson to us all that you need to look after your mental health and obtain a good work<>life balance. He tragically took his own life in September 1948 where he stated that exhaustion had pushed him past the brink of sanity.

Ireland has battled it’s way through a recession and along the way claimed many peoples businesses, relationships. And lives. But what people tend to forget is that when the economy picks up and you get busier there’s a tendency to take on too much work. As we have seen above, taking on too much work that you cannot cope with is just as dangerous as not having any work at all.

So my message in this unlikely inspiration is to do good work (just as Herbert Simms did) but be careful. Don’t take on work that you cannot cope with, do not have the skills or experience to do or simply do not want to do. You’re busier now so you can pick and choose the work that you prefer.

And don’t forget that work<>life balance – life is tough and work is hard but you’re meant to have a bit of enjoyment and fun along the way.

So if you’re a client screaming at me for drawings, please read the above.

Comments as always welcome…

See below how other Architalkers have interpreted this post:

Lee Calisti, AIA – Think Architect (@LeeCalisti)
unlikely inspiration was there all along

Eric T. Faulkner – Rock Talk (@wishingrockhome)
Inspire — A Clover

Jeffrey Pelletier – Board & Vellum (@boardandvellum)
Unlikely Inspiration: The Strange Journeys of the Creative Process

Jim Mehaffey – Yeoman Architect (@jamesmehaffey)
Barndoors are for People Too

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