A model maker from Dublin is highlighting the large number of derelict properties across Ireland by creating detailed models of the buildings.
Athan Wheeler said he wanted to highlight the problem in Ireland by allowing people to focus on the miniature details of properties.
Mr Wheeler (30), who lives in Dublin, also wants to use the models to draw government attention to the issue.
He developed an interest in making models of houses after his father-in-law’s mother died and their house was sold.
“I thought it would be a nice gift for him to build the family home, so I made a perfect model of it and then gave it to him on Christmas Day a few years ago,” Mr Wheeler said.
“Then people asked me to build models for their houses, especially houses that had burned down or had to be sold.”
As Mr Wheeler commuted daily through Dublin city centre, the number of derelict buildings caught his eye.
“It’s just wall to wall, there are so many buildings that are empty,” he said.
“They literally fall apart all around us and while they’re sad, there’s something really pretty about them.
“They haven’t been modernized and are just caught in the moment they were boarded up.
“I thought that was really, really cool.”
Mr. Wheeler uses mostly recycled materials with modeling equipment to recreate the buildings.
“I want to draw people’s attention to the fact that this is a serious problem,” he said.
“I’m working on a series of about 15 pieces from around the country and recreating these buildings.
“Some of them are famous and well-known, some are not. But it’s about framing the history of these buildings, where they came from, when they were built, and who lived in them.
“I follow this story and then find out how they ended up like this.
“I work on a building in Bishopstown, Cork. It’s a beautiful building and it’s over 200 years old.
“The building was rented out in 1916 and was rented to a family across generations for over 100 years.
“Three different generations of the family are growing up in this one wild house.”
Mr Wheeler has worked on a number of buildings in Dublin including the City Arts Center on City Quay.
He added: “There are so many of these buildings across the country that are standing there and for one reason or another they are essentially going to rot.
“My intention is to create and build a sense of Irish history to really show the incredible hardship we are facing in Ireland at the moment.
“We talk about having to build houses, but at the same time we look at all these buildings that we have around us that are decaying and decaying.
“The more we remodel and the more history I find, it’s an ongoing story of just being left to rot and being caught up in people’s obsession with development and fashion.
“Then we leave things and they’ll be abandoned and they’ll rot, it becomes almost impossible to save them, and then inevitably they’ll burst into flames.
“I use my skills as a modeler to really show the problem in a very clear way, because it’s one thing to see pictures, it’s another thing to actually look at something in miniature detail and really focus on the details, to really capture what is being said.”
Mr. Wheeler, who often spends up to 100 hours building a model, hopes to host an exhibition in the summer to showcase all of his buildings.
“In a homelessness crisis, a housing crisis and a cost-of-living crisis, it seems absolutely insane that more of these buildings are standing and rotting than ever, and we don’t seem to take it seriously at all.”
https://www.independent.ie/news/model-maker-exposes-derelict-properties-through-detailed-miniature-models-42248479.html The model builder shows run-down properties using detailed miniature models