Build Something Modern

Director: Nicky Gogan, Paul Rowley

Following on from Seaview, which examined the experience of asylum seekers living in the former Butlin’s holiday camp at Mosney, Nicky Gogan and Paul Rowley’s second film, Build Something Modern, similarly uses a distinct visual language as a tool to build the documentary narrative. Focusing here on a group of Irish architects whose modernist designs for hospitals, schools and churches were commissioned by Catholic missionaries in Africa from the 1940s onwards, the film uncovers an important body of work often designed in Ireland but realised and mostly still extant abroad. Punctuated by a selection of reworked archive material drawn from private and public records, and accompanied by an evocative soundtrack which establishes connections between memory and construction, the film is as much a study of the effect time has on the mind as on physical structures. Build Something Modern is a meaningful portrait both of the lives of spaces as well as those of the people that create them.

Notes by Alice Butler.

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