Project Idea Bank 2016: Carigallen Vocational School, Leitrim
Posted by admin, July 20, 2016

Key facts_

School: Carrigallen Vocational School

Teacher: Brian Mulvey

Name of Architect: Elizabeth Clyne

No. of students: 23

Workshop schedule: 2 full days, 2 visits

When it took place: 03/02/16 to 04/02/16

Carrigallen Vocational School: what we did!

The students of Carrigallen Vocational School began with presentations of their group research of inspirational architecture. From there, we discussed the space around us as well as spaces that they had observed pre-workshop. This set us up to move from the classroom space to the greater school space. The students mapped different areas of the school in small groups and identified critical dimensions, materials, light, textures and user patterns. The students design idea was for a new school sports hall, as they currently do not have this facility. We explored this idea through sketch design on paper and model-making. A site location of the adjacent lake was chosen by the students, and this provided an exciting dimension to the design idea.


Architecture and sport; Outside space; Floating architecture

Main Activities:

Presentation of inspirational architecture; Space studies; Mapping; Model making;

Circular links:

Design thinking, Construction, Technical Graphics, Art

Skills gained:

Research; observation; mapping; team work; sketching; model making; photography; idea generation; critical thinking; presentation;


Brief_ Social Space


How can architecture enhance our learning space and the community as a whole? This workshop is a great opportunity to explore your school and surrounding area, and make proposals for how it could be improved. Use model making to develop designs and present the ideas back to the school or community in a public display.

 Carigallen 1


Get started!

  • Mapping and Photography: Working in groups, use mapping/photographs/audio recording/ filming/ sketching or any medium you wish to record your findings. Observe dimensions, types of materials, surface treatments, building overhangs, sill heights, steps, ramps, access etc. to help understand how a building is planned and designed for a particular function and user.
  • Model making: In a half day workshop, individually, or in groups develop your own designs through hands on model making.


“We used cardboard and foam board to make the 3D model. It was interesting to see how architects can make their designs become 3D, which makes them more life-like and also helps their clients to visualise the design by creating a simple model….

I had very distinct and particular ideas about what we wanted our sports hall to look like. We worked well together on making the bottom pieces of our model but when it came to the roofing of our model, it was difficult for us to get our model to resemble the particular design we had in mind. It was still very enjoyable to make the model and I had a lot of fun.” TY Student, Michaela Harte

Carigallen 2Carigallen 3


Architect’s perspective:

“The Architects in Schools initiative is a really great project. It introduces students to an experience of design that they may never have had the opportunity to explore before. The response from the students was very encouraging and it was a very enjoyable process overall. The students were very pleased with their finished models at the end of the workshop, and it was very satisfying to hear that some of there students are now interested in pursuing architecture as a career.

Elizabeth Clyne (architect)

Student’s  perspective:

“Personally, I learned so much from the 2 days that my classmates and I spent with Elizabeth. I learned about what an architect’s job involves, about the many good and bad design features of our school and I also learned about the planning and modelling aspect of designing a building…

…I really enjoyed working in small groups to design a sports hall for our school. It was really enjoyable to come up with a design for a sports hall in our groups and then finalise our ideas and make a 3D model of our final design.”

Teacher’s  perspective:

From the point of view of raising awareness and appreciation of architecture among school students this course nailed its objectives perfectly in my opinion. There was a great buzz around the school during the workshop and indeed in the days after as word spread about the fun and challenge of the course.”

Brian Mulvey (Architectural Technology Teacher)


Carigallen 5



Following group research, space studies, and a photographic and measured survey of the school, it was decided that the school functioned very well in terms of circulation,space, and light, but that a sports hall was in much demand by the students. The students chose to locate the proposed building on or beside the lake adjacent to the school. This introduced an element of excitement to an otherwise very functional building design. The brief allowed student to explore public and private space, large open spaces versus small service spaces, and ideas on structure and construction. Locating the project on water called for a discussion on floating structures.

See Makoko Floating School for an introduction to theme of water and architecture.


Carigallen 6Carigallen 7Carigallen 8

Carigallen 9Carigallen 10


Get In Touch
For more information contact:

Irish Architecture Foundation
15 Bachelors Walk
Dublin 1

+353 1 874 7205
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