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Student shows 2013: Waterford Institute of Technology

Stephen Best reviews the Waterford Institute of Technology’s end of year show

The School of Architecture in Waterford emerged in 2005 from a long-established architectural technology course, which had a strong international reputation. This year the show demonstrates a conscious celebration of this technological DNA.

Standout unit The fourth year studio encapsulates one of the school’s consistent themes: how to respond to redundancy in the urban and rural environment. Each semester dealt with local architectural complexities using real projects; the first looked at the closure of Smithwick’s famous brewery in the heart of Kilkenny City, and in the second semester students confronted the latent possibilities of the most unarchitectural of objects, Cheekpoint Power Station. Currently planned for a major refit, the students tested how this belching behemoth could be reimagined, using their landscape aesthetics and social judgement.

Standout students In the thesis year, Ciara McInerney’s study of homelessness was a highlight. Relevant and ambitious, it underscores the school’s strengths - technical proficiency and social awareness. The scheme is designed to fit in and not stand out - a laudable proposition considering the commercial imperative to brand and privatise, in a way that threatens our future cities.

In a word: Didactic

Stephen Best, senior lecturer, Dublin Institute of Technology

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