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Competition Exhibition Learning

A Space for Learning: an Architects-in-Schools Programme


We kicked off its new education programme in late 2009 with A Space for Learning, a design competition to challenge current thinking on school design, where architects collaborate with the end-users of educational spaces – the students.

A Space for Learning featured more than 1,500 students in 90 schools, working with 120 architects around the country to design a creative response to the concept ‘a space for learning’. Students worked with architects to create and to submit their design ideas to an IAF panel for selection in March 2010. 10 winning teams received funding to develop their design for a national exhibition tour, which began in Autumn 2010 in NCAD Gallery in Dublin. Since then tens of thousands of people have visited it in VISUAL in Carlow, Ormeau Baths Gallery in Belfast and the Triskel Arts Centre in Cork. With each stop on the tour came a number of great education events, including school and family workshops, events with architecture and education students, lectures and a symposium entitled A Space for Architecture in Schools. The next stop on ASFL’s tour is Letterkenny’s Regional Cultural Centre, opening on 10 February and running until 16 March. For more information on A Space for Learning, visit the ASFL Blog.

The winning teams who have taken part in the ASFL national tour are:

Castletroy College Limerick/Donoghue Corbett Architects

Dundalk Grammar School Louth/Idir Architecture

Mercy College Coolock/Helen Kelly, Laura O’Brien & Faela Guiden

Sandford Park School Ranelagh/Federico Scoponi

Scoil Phobail Bheara Castletownbere/Magee Creedon Kearns Architects

St. Angela’s College Cork City/O’Donnell + Tuomey Architects

St. Dominic’s Secondary School Ballyfermot/Greenan Red Architects

St. Mary’s Secondary School Mallow/Chora Design Studio

St. Patrick’s College Cavan/NJBA Architects+Urban Designers

St. Paul’s College Raheny/Robert Bourke Architects

“It’s really inspiring to see so many talented architects and students working together on new visions for their own learning spaces”, said IAF Education Curator, Rachel McAree. “The competition also works as an exchange – the architects find out what young people need from the spaces they use everyday and the students learn about design through participation – a great way to learn anything.”

IAF Director Nathalie Weadick added “This is a very important project for the IAF, whose role is to raise awareness about the value of architecture, and is a priority within our education programme. We’re delighted by the response from architects, both established and emerging.”

Peter Timmins, teacher at Sutton Park School, Dublin enthused “In the 20 years I’ve been teaching I have been looking for a project like this to do with my TY students. It ticks all the boxes! The interest and enthusiasm it has generated is beyond words. Their blog gives some indication of the commitment to the project.”

A Space for Learning is an initiative of the Irish Architecture Foundation. It was funded by the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and the Department of Education and Skills. The tour is funded by the Arts Council of Ireland.