Culturstruction is a collaborative architecture and design practice working in the overlaps of design, architecture, art and spatial practices.

We believe that design is a powerful social tool that can be used not simply to create equality of access to places, but also to democratise the power to produce those places. We put this polemic into practice by working to create greater connections between people and the processes of imagining, designing, making and managing our environment. We want to contribute to expansion and diversity of roles and critical thinking in design.

We enjoy working with other people to collaboratively realise projects. In 2010 we co-founded ‘Commonage’ with visual arts curator Rosie Lynch. ‘Commonage’ was a community based organisation creating a new kind of space for contemporary art and architecture practice within a community context. ‘Commonage’ was motivated by a sharing of interest and experiences in contemporary architecture, creative spatial practices, heritage, craft, social housing and inclusion, spatial justice, rural and community development, alternative economic models and models of education. Through projects such as the ‘Commonage Summer School’ we created opportunities for designers and artists to realise work in response to live political, social, cultural and geographical contexts.

Culturstruction projects have been produced with The Irish Architecture Foundation, Dublin City Council, The Education and Community Department at the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Mermaid Arts Centre, Bray, the Abhainn Ri Festival of Participation and Inclusion in Callan, and PLACE, Belfast. We have been supported by The Arts Council of Ireland and Create under the ‘Architect in the Community Award’.

To date we have completed small scale built work; temporary public installations; exhibition design and project curating; public lectures and panel contributions; workshop programmes and public-realm research.

Initiated in 2008, in the dying days of Ireland’s property boom, the name ‘Culturstruction’ is a critique of the culture of construction. Through times of ‘crisis’ and times of ‘rebuilding’ the work of our studio continues to challenge destructive attempts to enclose and de-politicise the processes of conceiving, making and managing our shared environment.

Culturstruction is led by Jo Anne Butler and Tara Kennedy. We have been friends and co-conspirators since first meeting at art school in 2001. Many Culturstruction projects have been realised alongside our shared experiences in full time Architecture studies (2008-2013). As socially engaged designers we borrow from the systems and structures of our shared backgrounds in visual arts practice. Today ‘Culturstruction’ is a long-term shared conversation about design that meanders and flourishes alongside other independent design-focused activities.


Culturstruction is led by Jo Anne Butler and Tara Kennedy. We have been friends, travelling companions and co-conspirators since first meeting at art school over 12 years ago and have been working together as ‘Culturstruction’ since 2008.

Jo Anne Butler, M(Arch) 2013; BSc (Arch) 2010; BA (Joint Honours Fine Art Sculpture and History of Art and Design), 2005.

Jo Anne was born in Ballyhaunis, Mayo, Ireland in 1982. She graduated with a first class joint honours degree in ‘Fine Art (Sculpture) and History of Irish Art and Design’ from the National College of Art and Design in 2005. From 2005 – 2008 she worked as Assistant Project Manager with ‘Breaking Ground’, where she worked on the delivery and communication of a number of significant ‘art in context’ projects for the Ballymun Regeneration per cent for art commissioning agency. A growing interest in the social role of design in contributing to community development and spatial justice brought her to study architecture at University College Dublin in 2007. She was awarded a first class honours BSc(Architecture)(2010) and a Master’s in Architecture (2013). In 2012 Jo Anne was the recipient of the University College Dublin Fourth Year Architecture Scholarship Award. She has also studied in Lodz, Poland and at the Arkitektskolen Arhus in Denmark. She has been a founder and curator of ‘Commonage’ since 2010. She is a director and designer with ‘Superfolk’ whose design work has been presented at Stockholm Design Week, New York Design Week, Designmarch, London Design Festival and Tokyo Design Week. Her written work has been published in Arch+ (Germany) and Critical Cities 3(UK). Jo Anne lives in Westport, Co. Mayo.

Tara Kennedy, M(Arch) 2013; BSc (Arch) 2010; BA (Joint Honours Fine Art Sculpture and History of Art and Design), 2005

Tara was born in Dublin in 1983. She graduated with a first class joint honours degree in ‘Fine Art (Sculpture) and History of Irish Art and Design’ from the National College of Art and Design in 2005. Between 2005–2008 she realised a number of self-initiated public art projects, including collaboratively with Jennie Moran as Hope Inherent. In 2006 she was selected for the Advanced Course in Visual Art, Fondazione Ratti, Como, Italy with artist / architect Marjetica Potrc where she was awarded the FAR Epson Award for Excellence in Artistic Research. From 2005-2007 Tara also worked for Visual Artists Ireland, the representative and advocacy body for artists in Ireland. In 2007 she was one of ten artists paired with an architectural practice in Northern Ireland to work collaboratively over a six-month period on the award-winning RSUA Two Minds project. This fore fronted a long term interest in the critical potential of design and led to a decision to study architecture at UCD in 2007. She was awarded an honours BSc (Architecture)(2010) and a Master’s in Architecture (2013). At UCD she was awarded prizes for research, architectural technology, drawing and history of architecture. She has also studied in Lodz, Poland and at the Arkitektskolen Arhus in Denmark. She has been a founder and curator of ‘Commonage’ since 2010. Tara is a studio tutor and part-time lecturer at Cork Centre for Architectural Education. She is an architect with John McLaughlin Architects, awarded Best Emerging Practice in the RIAI Awards 2015.


Recent work by Culturstruction:

‘The Mythology of the Tent’ is new work for Tulca (2015). New Architecture: Ireland, EST, DK, NO + SE, is a traveling architecture exhibition that presents the work of six young Irish offices that have emerged during the recent economic crisis. (2015). ‘Castles in the Sand: Dublin’s Shifty Relationship with the Sea.’, book title for ‘Scientia Civitas: Missing Titles’, Vagabond Reviews, ‘Phoenix Rising’, Hugh Lane Gallery. (2014). ‘Still, We Work’, contribution / collaboration for new work by Anne Tallentire for ‘The Legacy Project’, National Womens Council, Gallery of Photography (2013) and touring (2015). ‘The Everyday Experience’ is an exhibition at the Irish Museum of Modern Art curated by the Irish Architecture Foundation (2013/2014). ‘Planning for Protest’ is an exhibition, publication and associated project of the Lisbon Architecture Triennale (2013). ‘Breach’ is an amphitheatre space built in a disused co-op farm store in Callan, Co.Kilkenny (constructed in collaboration with the Abhainn Ri Festival, Callan and the Commonage Summer School in 2011). ‘St Johns Eve: a Celebration of Rights of Way’ is a research and residency project with the Education and Community department at the Irish Museum of Modern Art. In 2012 we undertook a temporary redesign for The Mermaid Gallery, Bray. We are both founding members of ‘Commonage’ and our shared interest in the potential of overlapping education, design and community activism informed the Commonage Summer School in 2011 and 2012.


Recent Collaborators:

AP + E – Architects

Vagabond Reviews – Interdisciplinary Arts

Anne Tallentire – Artist

Michelle Browne – Artist

Ronan O’Boyle – Designer / Architecture Graduate

Renate Henschke – Designer

Hollie Kearns – Curator

John McLaughlin – Architect

Rosie Lynch – Curator

Caoimhe Merrick – Designer /Architecture Graduate

Louise Moriarty – Engineer / Architecture Graduate

Gearoid Muldowney – Designer

Peter Tansey – Architect

Mark Wickham – Illustrator

Commonage Summer School Team 2011

Commonage Summer School Team 2012


Since 2008 we have enjoyed working collaboratively and in partnership with a wide range of organisations and institutions including:

The Irish Architecture Foundation

Dublin City Council Architect’s Department

Dublin City Council Maintenance Division

Dublin City Council Arts Office and The LAB Gallery

The Education and Community Department at the Irish Museum of Modern Art

Mermaid Arts Centre, Bray, Co. Wicklow

Abhainn Ri Festival, Callan, Co. Kilkenny

The Five Lamps Arts Festival, Dublin

Pivot Dublin

Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council (forthcoming)

The Arts Council

Create – National Development Agency for Collaborative Arts (as recipients of an ‘Architect in the Community Award’, Stage 1 and 2)


A list of recent public presentations we have given on our work is available here




Exhibition curating and design

Digital Drawing including 3D modelling and image rendering

Model making

Workshop facilitation

Stakeholder Participation Training

Child Protection Training

Project management

Applying for and managing funding


Download some notes to ourselves about the way that we work here