Thursday, 20 March 2014

Medieval Museum in Waterford / Waterford City Council Architects

Really delighted to see that Waterford City Council Architects have won an International Civic Trust 2014 Award for this contemporary museum in my home city of Waterford. Hopefully this will set a precedent for similar developments in the Southeast region of Ireland.

Monday, 10 March 2014

SPUD Observatory Design Competition

On Monday 3rd March the observatory competition long list was released and our team consisting of myself, Joe Williams and Casey Williams were delighted to find our hard work and design process had paid off. We emerged through as one of the 20 teams to be long listed for the exhibition at Winchester Guild Hall where the projects were reviewed by a panel of 7. The judges included some high profile names such as Will Alsop and Bill Woodrow as well as five other distinguished professionals. The project was also mentioned on bdonline and the competition website that can be viewed in the links below:

Unfortunately the project was not chosen for the shortlist and the travelling exhibition but as a team our design exploration and research developed considerably over the 8 week period. 

The conceptual approach to the studio was introduced in the post titled “Observation Theme Exploration” on the 30th January 2014. This was a diagrammatic image that portrayed our approach to observation and how its power can be enhanced through removing and then framing certain views. The team comprised a paragraph to support our theories and the image:

“The beauty of landscape and topography is somewhat elusive to those whom use it often and in a transient manner. Studio Obscura uses the power of denial to remove and distort views so as to render beautiful scenes that have become ordinary through frequent use”

In reality this is achieved by using vertical posts that stand in isolation and form a plane leading to the building.  The posts eventually merge to create the density that is the actual enclosed space. Each post demands space in the landscape encouraging macro observation but the closer they become, the more the visitor views the micro aspects of the site. Once inside the building the visitor experiences a sheltered atmosphere away from the sun, wind and rain and is invited to observe the artist’s products and process.
Inside the intervention a counterpoint to the surrounding landscape is created through removing light from the tower and creating a pinhole camera obscura. This camera obscura projects the light and atmosphere of the artist’s studio above onto a translucent screen below. This is achieved using mirrors and varying ceiling heights to enhance the experience.

The image below is one of the central isometric drawings that show these vertical elements and their relationship with the building. The tower that encourages observation of the landscape from above and observation of the artist from below dominates the image.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

NTU Architecture Exchange

NTU held an Architecture Exchange event last Thursday evening which involved meeting various industry representatives and listening to presentations on how to improve your employability within Architecture. I was asked to speak about the preparation of the CV and portfolio and how to maximise your skills developed at University. Once the presentations finished myself and two other architects from CPMG took part in a round table discussion on what we look for in graduates. 

The link below explains a bit more about the event and main points of all four presentations. The opening image of my presentation can be seen below and preformed as a foundation to my background and interests. 

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Observation Facade Development

The observatory project has reached a stage where the practical necessities of the interior artist studio are influencing the external facade composition. The posted image is a shadow study displaying the shadow effect caused by the facade.

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Observation theme exploration

The cryptic image below is the early development of some exploration work I'm doing alongside 

Friday, 6 September 2013

RIBA Silver Medal Entry

Since finishing the M.Arch I have focused my mind on searching for jobs but also on tying up some design thesis loose ends. I have been offered the opportunity by NTU to submit the project for the RIBA Silver Medal Awards so 15 pages required some extra polishing.  One of the central themes of the thesis was the use of design to balance seasonal variations in employment around Boston. The solution was mussel fields and a processing building which I did a little extra design work on for the competition entry.  

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Archiam Centre Visualisation and Outreach Work

Upon finishing the M.Arch myself and Paul MacMahon of took part in preparing visuals and loose design work for the inaugural exhibition of the Archiam Centre.

The research based centre focuses on the architecture and cultural heritage of India, Arabia and the Maghreb and how to manage it around the rapid expansion of cities and infrastructure which threatens the historic urban fabric. The inaugural exhibition was specifically about the heritage management of Oman and a number of settlements in the region. The exhibition focused on the documentation, analysis, heritage management/development and the visualisation and outreach for the settlements. Once myself and Paul M joined the multidisciplinary team led by Prof Soumyen Bandyopadhyay all of the analysis and management stages were completed for the exhibition and it was our role to visualise some potential schemes in their highlighted sites.

The purpose of the images were to be representative of the life and materiality such developments could bring to settlements that are currently perishing. Paul M also created a context model of one of the settlements and I 3D printed a model of an existing building.

Entrance to Exhibition from

Plan of Strategic Square 

Sketch of Pedestrian Access to City Wall

Sketch of Potentail Building for Cafe 

Food Court Sketch

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Ol Pejeta Conservancy, Technical Training College

This project was undertaken in conjunction with Bhavna Solanki, a colleague from NTU. Earlier in the year she offered me the visual role in the delivery and design of this technical training college in Kenya and the first sketch phase of the project can be seen in this earlier blog post The project consists of an education hub where technical and management skills are taught, a workshop for practical artisan training and tented accommodation. The plans had already been finialised by Bhavna but the form and colour scheme in the ferrocement facade and the details of the classroom were a collaborative effort. It was in the visual production where I could express my creativity and the main aim was to capture the essence of how the courtyard re-represents the surrounding landscape.

Sustainability and conservation are at the core of  this project since it sits in the Ol Pejeta nature reserve and the original intention was to use rammed earth as the main structural element. For financial reasons Ferrocement became the preferred option but a dye could be included to fit the buildings into their context. Recesses in the facade brake the flat plane and give it a rhythm whilst providing areas for seating.

Monday, 3 June 2013

Design Thesis Conclusion and Reflection

I have just finished the final model to hand in tomorrow and I thought that there is no better time to reflect on what I found out during this project. 

The design thesis has proven that the boundary where land meets water is a highly influential force in defining both physical and social characteristics of a region. Boston is the perfect example of a town that has grew and succeeds on the continued development of transitional edge conditions.

The demand to lengthen the canal system and to further protect the town and farmland from flooding presents an opportunity to redefine the edge between salt and fresh water. The redefinition of this edge with a high density program can use the creation of a new boundary as an interchange between the new demographics of Boston. This mixing and exchange between people is currently lacking in the town and causing considerable tension. Furthermore, the seasonal nature of work undertaken by immigrants has left a negative perception towards how they spend there time and how it impacts the town. The thesis established that a new edge can create mussel farms which dilute the seasonal fluctuations and also act as a filtration system for the river Witham.

The importance of this boundary is celebrated in the form of the building with views of different water transitions being highlighted as one uses the various building functions. The light rail platform sits over the pump house where the user can witness the change of water from calm on the canal side to turbulent as it is pumped out. The bar is slightly elevated to reveal the horizon which usually is completely disconnected from Boston. Suspension of the accommodation block over the aqueduct creates a physical relationship between the water transition and the building.

The materials used in the building are mostly concrete and sheet piling below the datum level for resistance against the hydrostatic pressures. Above the datum level recycled pallets from surrounding industries are charred and water power washed and then turned into louvres and cladding systems. 

In conclusion the building sits across the river Witham and becomes an expression of the surrounding landscape in relation to a common datum level. The masterplan seeks to challenge the current social and economic conditions of Boston and the greater Wash area whilst the intervention designed in this thesis facilitates the masterplan strategy.