IT Sligo students transforming local landmark buildings
Interior Architecture students at IT Sligo have transformed one of Sligo’s landmark buildings into a desirable riverside social housing complex – but the exercise was purely an academic one.
The centrepiece of an end of year exhibition at the Institute featuring the work of the 2011-2012 Honours BA Interior Architecture students, was a variety of plans for the re-purposing of the prominent building which incorporates the Embassy Rooms, the Belfry Bar and Toffs nightclub.
Throughout the year students had travelled to London, Amsterdam and Dublin to research city centre social housing projects and learn from the mistakes as well as the success stories they witnessed. In London they visited Balfron Tower, the 27-storey housing block which was designed by Erno Goldfinger in the 1960’s and has featured in a number of film and TV productions, often to portray urban deprivation.
The students were challenged to create a convivial community atmosphere with a focus on integration while taking advantage of the city centre location and its nearby amenities. “We wanted to create an alternative to the so-called suburban dream”, explained fourth year Interior Architecture student Anthony Murphy (23) from Cloonfad Co Roscommon. His classmate Sarah Foley (23) from Ballymurray Co Roscommon said the key was inclusivity and integration. “It was also important to make good use of the site which is beside Sligo Abbey, has views of the Garavogue River and is convenient to Doorly Park”.
Fourth year student Shane Colreavy from Maugherow, Co Sligo said that as the community aspect was important, he incorporated a restaurant and shop in his plans. “Social housing must be integrated, not segregated or separated from the rest of the community,” he said. His plan provided for a mix of social and privately owned housing.
Lecturer Cliona Brady said the students had successfully highlighted how important a sense of place was. “They managed to create something specific to Sligo with historic and cultural references,” she explained.”We did not want people sitting in apartments which could just as easily be located in Dublin or anywhere else.”
The lecturer said that given the number of landmark buildings which have fallen into disrepair in Sligo, the challenge for students was to repurpose an existing building in a sustainable way.
Third year Interior Architecture students showcased their plans for an eco tourism hostel in Co Leitrim. James Huxley, from Carrick on Shannon, Co Leitrim incorporated an anti-fracking theme in his plan for a eco tourism hostel near Manorhamilton.
First year BA Interior Design students were also represented among the 50 participants who displayed their work through a range of drawings, models and video presentations at the recent exhibition in the Hume Hall on the IT Sligo campus.
The Interior Design students were asked to design a restaurant and reception desk for Drumcliffe Church, one of Co Sligo’s best known tourist sites where the poet W B Yeats is buried. Polish-born Patrycja Cwienk whose family live in Portlaoise was inspired by Yeats’ work . “I was interested in fine art but moved to Sligo when I heard about the Interior Design course. I have really enjoyed first year”, she said.
Lecturer Emmet O’Doherty said Interior Design students do a number of multi-disciplinary projects during the year with civil engineering and quantity surveying students. “We visited Berlin this year – visiting a European city opens the students’ eyes to different buildings and different styles”. He explained that Interior Design graduates will be qualified for jobs in museum design, lighting design, the design of exhibition spaces, television and film scenography and also for some domestic work.
Graduates of the Interior Architecture course are equipped to work with organisations and practices specialising in architectural, interior architectural and interior design as well as with local authorities, media and performing arts, galleries and museums.
For more information on our BA in Interior Architecture click here.
Top of Page Right: Interior Design student Patrycja Cwienk
Table Below: Interior Architecture and Design Students and Staff
Interior Architecture student Sarah Foley
Fourth year Interior Architecture student Shane Colreavy
Third year Interior Architecture student James Huxley
Interior Architecture student Anthony Murphy
Interior Architecture lecturer Cliona Brady