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We Built This City - Irish Architecture Foundation

Through stunning images and narration, Dyehouse Films explore the hidden stories of the Irish diaspora and the role immigrant men and women have played in shaping urban life globally

We Built This City is a special commission of three short documentaries for the Irish Architecture Foundation.

The documentary project examines the role Irish labour played in creating London, Chicago, and New York, a story rarely acknowledged in standard histories.

We Built this City was presented by the Irish Architecture Foundation in collaboration with Irish Design 2015 and the Office of the Minister for Diaspora Affairs of Ireland.

Film 1. We Built This City | London (06:00 minutes)
Tracing the Irish involvement in building London, from the back-breaking work digging the Tube tunnels, to the rise of the Irish culturally and politically. The film speaks to first and second generation Irish working in London and juxtaposes archive imagery with images of the London we see today. © Irish Architecture Foundation 2015

Film 2. We Built This City | Chicago (10:14 minutes)
Chicago, birthplace of the skyscraper in the nineteenth century, but few know that in the 1830s, Irish immigrants dug the Illinois & Michigan Canal assuring the growth of the, then, frontier town. The film is narrated by Irish-trained architect, Clare Lyster, Associate Professor at UIC School of Architecture, and a writer and urbanist based in Chicago. © Irish Architecture Foundation 2015

Film 3. We Built This City | New York (08:52 minutes)
A chronicle of the impact Irish people have had on the built environment in New York City, from the historical growth of this unique city, from the 1840s coinciding with large numbers of Irish immigrants, to contemporary times. The film features commentary from acclaimed architect Kevin Roche, amongst others. © Irish Architecture Foundation 2015