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Cork Centre for Architectural Education, Ireland

[STUDENT SHOWS 2011] This school is a joint venture between University College Cork and Cork Institute of Technology, writes John McLaughlin

It follows a four-year degree with a year out and a one-year master’s leading to an RIAI Part 2 exemption. At the end of its fifth year, it is soon to welcome back its first cohort of students into final year. Classes average 30 students and the ambience is intimate. Unusually, it is in the city centre, near a vibrant arts scene.

The school marries an academic and a practical focus in pursuing culturally aware and technically accomplished architecture. The first-year studio showed a clear progression from the description of an object to engagement with a place – themes developed through the second and third year, where an engagement with suburban conditions in Youghal produced surprisingly varied work. Irene Brophy and Amy Hore showed sensitivities in their school and library, while Conor Burke moved from lucid rationalism in his school design to dystopian poetics in his post-industrial library.

The fourth year adopted a unit system run by teaching practices. All units set Vienna’s Haus der Musik as a major project in semester one, but the competition format seemed to stifle the creativity of earlier years. Projects from semester two showed good solid work. Emma Power, Laura Mellett and Lorraine Doyle produced memorable images in a respectable range of projects.

The school is emerging as a small but diverse institution with good links to the nearby Crawford College of Art and Design and the National Sculpture Factory, which auger well for its future.

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