Project Idea Bank: De La Salle Waterford
Posted by admin, September 19, 2016

Based on NSAI ’15/’16 project from:​

De La Salle Waterford 

Key facts:

School: De La Salle, Waterford​

Teacher: Elaine O’Connor​

Subject: Art​

Name of Architect: Emily Power​

No. of students: 24​

Workshop schedule: 6 x 2hr Sessions​

When it took place: 26/01/16 to 06/04/16​


De La Salle: what we did!

The students began by interacting with the language of architecture through small construction projects and problem solving e.g. object study and stool construction. By analysing specific spaces within the school the students introduced scale to their perspective. Finally after identifying areas within the school that were under-utilised the students put their skills together in groups to create design solutions for more social spaces.

Theme: ​Problem solving through architecture, social space in school​

Main Activities:​ Problem solving, technical drawing, mapping, model making, sketching​

Circular links:​ Art, Geography, Technical Graphics, Construction, Mathematics, Physics​

Skills gained:​ Model making, photography, problem solving, group work, research, presentation, sketching, brainstorming​


Brief: Architecture & Social Space

Overview: This workshop was used as an opportunity to introduce students to the job of the architect and the skills that they use in their practice. These skills have a place in their everyday life both in school and out. Using the skills introduced in the first few sessions the students analysed the school to see how they could improve their environment and enhance their everyday use of their space.​


Get started!

  • Box & Stool Study

Using only a cardboard box the students have to transform a regular cardboard box into a load bearing stool. They may only use cutting implements and cannot use any adhesives or tape.

This first task is to get the students to draw their box using the language of architecture, this exercise introduces the students to initial basic architectural terms e.g. plan, section and elevation. We also look at the elements of structure and loads and at methods to strengthen the cardboard e.g. folding and rolling. Working in groups of 3-4 students engage with the task at hand and are encouraged to troubleshoot any issues that arise. At the end of the session we have a group review where the students get to test their stool and see if they can withstand their weight.



Architect’s perspective: 

“Working with TY students is an excellent opportunity to re-connect with the fundamentals of architecture and design. It was also great to get the students to re-engage with their school environment and to get them to have a pride of place and to see the importance of design for social space”

Emily power 

Students’  perspectives:

“I gained social and problem solving skills. I also learned how to be more creative and how to look at things from a different viewpoint”

TY Student De La Salle


“I liked working together in groups to come up with a design idea and make models. It made us cooperate more and listen to each other”

TY Student De La Salle


  • Plans & Analysis

The students analyse the school and site at different scales; how do the students, teachers and staff interact with the school. They identify areas that are lacking, problems that could be improved or solutions to apparent issues. Using different colours they trace movements throughout the site and the school.

Once the students have identified problem areas they worked together in groups to create design solutions for sheltered social spaces internally and externally. 


  • Design Intervention

Through technical drawings, sketches and models the students crated design solutions for external shelters that could act as social spaces. They also created additional social seating areas for students in unused corridor space.

“I enjoyed coming up with a solution through different design ideas and getting to show them through drawings and models” – TY Student De La Salle



  • Site Visit: if possible a visit to a building in the local area can be beneficial. It introduces the students to architecture and can make them look at local areas differently.
  • Working on projects within the context of the school creates a greater interest in the wider student body. Creating presentation boards that can be displayed within the school allows for better dissemination.

Above: Presentation of work by De La Salle in WIT School of Architecture. Below: Students from De La Salle Waterford at presentation in WIT


  • Drawings:

How to’s: plans; For more technical drawings that analyse spaces use an everyday item as a unit of scale e.g. shoe for a small space or a human body for a larger space.

How to’s: sketches; For some students sketching using photographs and a light box is a great way to overlay design ideas.

Below some drawing & overlay sketches by De La Salle Students


  • Model making:

How to’s: concept model; As part of the initial investigation of the site the students made a 1:250 contour model of the school and the grounds. Students also made individual models of their design solutions for  shelters.

“I enjoyed the freedom given to express yourself in designing, drawing and model making.” – TY Student De Le Salle College

Below site model & pavilion design model by De La Salle Students 



Well done to all the students at De La Salle Waterford and their architect, Emily Power!

Get In Touch
For more information contact:

Irish Architecture Foundation
15 Bachelors Walk
Dublin 1

+353 1 874 7205
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