design + energy + excellence

What Really Happened During Simon Open Door Weekend


Isabel Barros recently contributed to the Simon Open Door initiative. During the weekend Isabel gave up her time for free in return for a €55 donation to the Simon Communities of Ireland.

This was the 6th year Isabel participated offering their time and expertise to the members of the public for free. During these 6 years Isabel has raised €1,385 and this goes directly to the Simon Communities or Ireland to provide accommodation for people experiencing homelessness. In total, all RIAI participating Architects have raised over €80,000 this year!

The participants came prepared with photos, drawings, maps and measurements. Two of them thought they had plans at scale but they didn’t (a very important detail!). Luckily they had measurements with them and Isabel was able to quickly sketch a plan at scale. One participant only had measurements in feet/inches, Isabel had to convert this to meters which wasted some time of the consultation.

Most of the consultations involved an extension to an existing house. A reconfiguration of the existing layout was required in nearly all cases. Isabel provided advice and produced some ideas to solve the problems.

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Two participants had quite complex briefs that were difficult to resolve in only one hour. But all participants took home at least one sketch option that could be explored to make their brief work.

Some of the participants also asked for advice about interior finishes and decoration. One participant also wanted the house to have a different look outside, with a more contemporary feel.

Two of the projects involved a construction by stages to accommodate available funds. Isabel highlighted how these stages could work and the best sequence to carry out the works.

Our survey indicates that all participants valued the time Isabel spent with them.
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The Simon Open Door Architects provide their time for free and do not expect new commissions from these consultations. However, 4 of the participants requested a formal fee proposal to oversee their project and some may result in fantastic collaborative work with Isabel Barros Architects.

One hour was hardly enough to complete most of the consultations, there was no time to showcase projects or promote services, there were no breaks and Isabel was exhausted by the end of the weekend!

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This initiative happens every year in May and it is a partnership between the Simon Communities of Ireland and the Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland.

We wish to thank all participants for their donations.


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1 Comment

  1. Isabel Barros

    What Really Happened During Simon Open Door Weekend

    Isabel Barros recently contributed to the Simon Open Door…

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