Project Idea bank 2016: Larkin Community College, Dublin 1
Posted by admin, August 22, 2016

Key facts

School: Larkin Community College

Teacher: Siobhan McKenzie, Art Teacher

Name of Architect: Lyuba Stoimenova

No. of students: 10

Workshop schedule: 6 x single classes & 1 x double classes & 4 classes of workshop

When it took place: Feb – April 2016

Main Activities: Mapping; Model making – cardboard stool; User survey; Survey of the school building itself and the courtyard.

Circular links: Art, Design, Construction

Skills gained: Observation; mapping; research; team work; model making; idea generation; critical thinking; user surveys.


Theme: School Space

Overview: In this project the students were introduced to a range of perspective on architecture, its main features, elements, styles and types. Also a wealth of design skills were achieved – from exploring problem solving in making a “chair for an astronaut”, to designing a small landscape drawing and being a critic in an architecture competition, to expanding the view of what’s possible in building with a walk around the school discussing forms, materials and function. Putting the skills into action the students developed design for innovations in their school, which they presented to their peers, teachers and parents.


Larkin 1 Larkin 2 Larkin 3

Engagement process!

We started as incorporating activities into every lesson with the students. Active, hands-on learning is crucial to creating an environment where all students have an entry point into exploring artwork or expressing their own ideas. Activities can give all students options for investigating a work of architecture, sparking a creative response. When said “activity”, I don’t necessarily mean a full-on art project. In the context of this course, an “activity” could comprise a way to frame a discussion, a game, or a quick drawing or writing exercise. Some activities involve the whole group, some ask students to pair off in partners, and others are done individually. Despite their variety, all activities have one thing in common: the focus is on process, as opposed to making a finished product.


Larkin Community College, our ideas:

– Changing the atrium from one big empty space to a gathering place with tables and chairs. We also decided to open the old stage there and to introduce some new rows of chair that go under the scene.
– Possibility for separation the people that just pass from those that are in the atrium to lunch or study.

– New outdoor furniture in front of the school.

– New wider and better organized entrance of the building.

Our goal is to provide opportunities for students to:

  • Look or sense closely
  • Wonder
  • Be curious
  • Ask questions
  • Make interpretations and hypotheses based on sensory evidence
  • Make connections to things they already know or have experienced
  • Consider multiple perspectives and viewpoints
  • Delve below the surface of an artwork or object
  • Form their own conclusions


NASI Quote (1)


How we started!

We have explored some activities for analysing and reflecting. These activities give students a framework for looking, investigating and breaking down the information in front of them. We have explored also some activities for creating, imagining and connecting, which will help students to think creatively, while connecting the artworks and their own experiences to big ideas.

We shared activities that involve writing, drawing, movement, design, play, and discussion. Peppering our lessons with different types of engagement creates more opportunity for all students to participate, have choices, and work in a way that is comfortable to them.


Larkin 4

Development Process:

Focusing on the school building, the students took an exploratory walk and noticed that the rooms didn’t have plenty of natural light or views and connection to the courtyards.  They found also that there wasn’t much colour internally, that there was a need for areas to eat their lunch and an opportunity to enliven the courtyard space.





Get In Touch
For more information contact:

Irish Architecture Foundation
15 Bachelors Walk
Dublin 1

+353 1 874 7205
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