Update from Belvedere College
Posted by admin, February 4, 2014

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 Jacinta Curley is our “architect-in-school” working with  a Transition Year group at Belvedere College, Dublin.

Week 1

With palpable anticipation, excitement and some nervousness, we  (19 students, 1 art teacher and 1 architect) gathered in the inspiring art room, on the top floor of  Belvedere college, in the heart of Dublin city: our base for the next 10 weeks.Having introduced the project, myself and overall structure of the workshop programme, the students, using post-its, shared their expectations for the 10 weeks and some words that came to mind when they heard the word architecture.

Using the courtyard space in the centre of the school as a study space, we looked at how it we might begin to describe a physical environment in visual terms. Dividing into 6 groups, each with a different aspect to explore, we left the art room behind and braved the January cold to investigate, armed with pencils, sketchbooks and coats!

As an example, I showed the students my favourite group project from college, which used photographs of small details to describe the experience of occupying the Richview Campus in UCD.  With the exploration complete for the day the students set about recording what they had found in words, sketches or photographs. This would be used as a basis for discussion in Week 2.

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Plan of courtyard space; Plan describing size of courtyard in terms of 3 50m swimming pools; Plan of courtyard space showing environmental factors; Plan of courtyard showing the sun path; Plan of courtyard showing circulation routes; Sketch showing routes taken through the courtyard.


Students describe Hopes and Expectations 

“Better understand the design process.”

“Become more knowledgeable about architecture & think about it as a possible career choice. “


“To build something/ Design something good.”

“To come up with a viable plan for a structure in out school.”


“To create something.”

“Make up a good idea and see it come to life.”


“To design a buildable structure.”

“To create something to add enjoyment to our school.”


“Become better at drawing your ideas and make them come to life.”

“Come up with good ideas and get involved.”


To get a better understanding of Architecture.

“Learn a lot about architecture and might give me ideas of a future career.”

“I hope to learn more about the career of an architect.”


Students describe ARCHITECURE in 5 WORDS

Grandeur; Inventive; Goliath; Angular; Sleek;

Design;  Building; Blueprint; Function; Efficiency;


Building; Design; Apple; Drawing; Imagination;

Design; Builder; Structure; Art; Home;


Shapes; Imagination; Design; Communication; Functional;

Designing; Structure; Beautiful; Innovation; Build;


Drawing; Building; Measuring; Design; Sketching;

Functional; Artistic; Design; Sketch; Buildings;


Innovation; Ideas; Creation; Imagination; Practicality;

Freedom; Structure; Utilitarian; Support; Design;


Sketches; Plans; Design; Site; Imagination;

Statue; Drawing; Design; Building; Art;


Buildings; Sculptures; Creativity; Knowledge; Design;

3D Designs; Functional/Useful; Artistic; Imagination; Quirky;


Art; Building; Creativity; Design; Structures;


 Week 2

With everyone settled in, Week 2, kicked off with a discussion on what architects, artists and buildings the students found inspiring. Beijing’s National Stadium, the Bird’s nest, featured highly, the leaning tower of Pisa was mentioned for how it challenges the viewer to  reconsider what can stand up and Gaudi’s sagrada famila for the fact that it is still being built. Some students also found the Eiffel tower, skyscrapers  and Dublin’s convention centre inspiring .

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Gaudi’s sagrada famila; Beijing’s National Stadium; Leaning Tower of Pisa; The Eiffel Tower; Zaha Hadid

To get the body active as well as the mind, the students then did a quick drawing exercise in pairs. Each student found an object from around the art room, and then took turns to describe the physical characteristics of the object to their partner without saying what the object was. The partner tried to draw the object from the description and guess what it was. This made for an interesting, energetic exercise and led into a discussion on ways to describe physical objects and environments in language and drawings.

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Students doing object drawings exercise.

Returning to the courtyard exploration of the previous week, the student showed their drawings and discussed the observations they had made. The discussion covered such aspects as how the courtyard was used, the form it took, the position of the sun at different times of the day and the aspects of it that worked well and the ones that didn’t work so well.

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Students drawings from drawings exercise.

To finish the students were set the task of exploring the wider school campus, to identify areas they liked and disliked and describe these spaces in visual terms. This research was then to be used as the starting point for developing a brief in Week 3.





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For more information contact: education@architecturefoundation.ie

Irish Architecture Foundation
15 Bachelors Walk
Dublin 1

+353 1 874 7205
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