We’re delighted to say that since Christmas, we’ve been working with students at Loreto Community School in Milford as part of the National Architects in Schools Initiative.
The Initiative is run by the Irish Architecture Foundation (IAF), and the idea is to give students hands- on design experience under the guidance of local architects.
The IAF is working in partnership with the national network of Teachers’ Education Centres to train and resource both architects and teachers. Five Education Centres, in Cork, Donegal, Dublin, Galway and Wexford, are acting as regional hubs for the initiative which takes place in 25 schools.
The programme allows us to steer the students as they analyse their built surroundings and identify areas that they would like to improve, and then to help them come up with imaginative suggestions and solutions.
It’s great to be involved, because I live locally, my wife is from Milford (and teaches in the school) and because our son is a first year student there. I’ve spoken to students in the school a few times in the past about a career in architecture, so I’m familiar enough with the place.
We’re working in the school with Transition Year students and their teacher Mr. Patrick Curley, and we began by asking the students to look at the village of Milford, and in particular how their school is located in relation to the village centre. Now we’re looking at ways of strengthening the links between the school and the centre, in the process developing ideas about how to regenerate disused buildings and spaces in and around Milford. I’m sure we can pull together a lot of good design ideas, and we’ll use the best of the school’s technology and art departments to demonstrate them.
Our role will be to provide the support that will allow the students to draw conclusions from their analysis, and to go on and design the kind of buildings and places they’d like to see in Milford. We hope that they let their imaginations run loose, and push the boundaries as much as they want. We won’t be telling them that their buildings won’t stand up or that they’d cost too much, because what we really want is to develop their vision and encourage their creativity. If they come up with ideas to generate a buzzing, vibrant, colourful Milford, then we’ll all have achieved something.