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    Architect in Residence programme in secondary schools in Galway, Ireland.
Architect in Residence
The Architect in Residence programme aims to encourage 4 th and 5 th year students from three Galway schools to develop a better visual awareness of their cities, towns and countryside. The project was set by the Galway Local Authorities with support from the Arts Council.

Over a 5 month period students from Presentation College Athenry, Presentation School Galway City Centre and Gairmscoil Éinne, Inis Mór were challenged to question, understand and re-imagine the built environment in their communities that is generally taken for granted.

By recognising the design decisions the students subconsciously take from the clothes they wear, to the music they listen to, the workshops were designed to tap into this intuitive process and apply it to the exploration of architectural form and space.

Through interactive workshops on scale, proportion, rhythm and form, the students were encouraged to question, connect naturally with the principles of architectural design. Using various media, they explored the design process. The video work of Michael Gondry was used as a familiar tool which the students explored conceptual thought. In the video “Around the World” by Daft Funk, Michael speaks about going “…… to areas that are unsafe to force myself to see if I could do it”, where choreography is architecture using geometrical patterns, dancers express shape with their bodies. Students were likewise encouraged to push the boundaries of their own imagination.

Where Michael had a piece of music as the brief to base his concept on, the students were able to connect with the idea of a design brief. In architecture, the design brief is the client’s functional requirements and aspirations for a project which is influenced by environmental factors.

The workshops are designed to enthuse and encourage the students to have a greater interest in the built environment in their towns, cities and countryside. To create an informed platform in order to make a more informed opinion on architectural design.

The final workshop “My Space” aims to provide this informed platform by exploring what is different in an age that encourages homogeneity rather than self expression.

As a child, a tree house or corner in a field / garden responded to the students need for a space of their own. Spaces to enable them plan their great exploration of the unknown, only limited by the bounds of their imagination. Now at 15/16 years of age, students are prompted to design their own space that will answer their needs at this transitional stage of their lives.

“Give me some space”
“I would just like to have a bit of space”
“Get out of my space”
“I need a little bit of space to think!”
“I need space to put my things in”
“I need a space of my own”

The project explores individual and collective creativity and introduces the design process, the student imagining, understanding and creating a three dimensional scaled model of their idea.