Saturday, February 27, 2010

Week 6: Design Development: Social Spaces for Learning

During the rest of Week 5 and this week, the students developed their Design Proposals using various techniques such as sketching, model-making, time-lapse video and 3D computer modelling. Sean W has proposed making the Canteen the hub of the school by expanding the existing canteen and connecting it to the North Courtyard and Yard on either side. He has been working on a 1:50 model of this space and, with Andrew's assistance, has been experimenting with how sunlight enters its new perforated roof using a desk lamp and a digital camera:

Meanwhile, James has been thinking of a suitable layout for a free-standing Common Room for 5th and 6th years, combining study, relaxation, internet and kitchen area. This will replace an existing prefab in the South Courtyard and will provide passive surveillance of the bike lock-up, a regular target for bike thieves.

The time lapse video of the Yard, organised by Chris and Patrick, has been used to investigate the use of this space over the course of a day. They observed that students either congregate in the Shelter at the edge of this large, blank space or cross it to go from one area to another - they rarely stand in the middle. This valuable insight is helping the students to think of ways to make better use of this space, also bearing in mind that the Yard is used as a car park in the evenings by members of the public who rent the sports pitches - an important source of income for the school. Thanks to James for suggesting the music!

The Building Analysis also highlighted a need to enliven the many, long, monotonous corridors of the school. As an example of a small scale social space, the students were also asked to design a Bench for the foyer of the North Entrance. Here is a video of Andrew explaining his idea for a bench:

Michael has been using a free download of Google Sketchup to construct a 3D digital model of the school campus. He is learning how to create a virtual 'walk through' and will soon add the designs proposed by the other students. Here is an example of his work to date:

Friday, February 19, 2010

Radio Interview

At 8pm last night, Dublin City FM broadcast a programme about the Space for Learning competition. Rachel McAree from the Irish Architecture Foundation spoke about the initiative in general and Robert Bourke described his work with the students at St. Paul's College from an architect's perspective. Click on the play button below to listen:

Monday, February 15, 2010

Week 5: Design Proposals

This morning we had our third meeting in our new base in the C Block prefab (many thanks to Mr Moran for organising that). The Building Analysis carried out in the first stage of the project identified 4 main areas for improvement: the Yard which is bleak and unattractive, the Canteen which is dark and too small, the Courtyard which is pretty but never used and a Common Room for senior students which the school currently does not have, but the survey showed a strong desire for one. The team will develop these design proposals over the next few sessions...


Monday, February 8, 2010

Week 4: Presentation of Building Analysis

This morning, the team presented their findings of their Building Analysis to a panel of 'guest critics' consisting of the Principal, Vice-Principal and a selection of teachers. The A1 boards were clearly arranged and the team members spoke confidently about their work to date. After the presentations, a brainstorming session was held (see last photo) and several Design Proposals were agreed on and will be developed in the coming weeks.



Friday, February 5, 2010

Week 3: Building Analysis (continued)

This week saw intense activity at St. Paul's as the team looked at the school buildings in great detail. After many hours in the wood workshop, Robert, Sean D, Sam and Leo finished the 1:250 site model in timber...

Sean C, James and Sean W worked on their model and sketches of the staircase next to the Teachers' Corridor....

Adam and Shane R collated their findings from their student interviews...

Meanwhile, the Structures, Materials, Environmental and Photo / Video groups worked on their respective A1 boards to be presented and discussed on Monday. Great work team!