Sweeney Architects

Skate park wins students’ architecture design prize

By Conor Barrins

The budding architects of tomorrow from both St Mel’s College and the Convent of Mercy were awarded at an award’s ceremony in Longford County Library last Wednesday.

Sweeney Architects organised a competition for students to design a building which incorporates public amenities and has the potential to be economically sustainable. The brief also required some commercial aspect to be present, with a 500 Euros prize fund for the winner.

Ursula Hegarty from Sweeney Architects was thrilled with the quality of work submitted. “We set the students a big challenge, to design a building of tomorrow that transforms the site that it is on, while at the same time being economically viable and eco-friendly”.

Transition Year students in St Mel’s got busy designing and making models of their proposed buildings early into the school term last year. Convent teacher, Padraig MacAodha was delighted with how the project was realised. His students won two prizes, one for best design and the other for the most environmentally friendly design.

“We approached it from the physical side of things. We focused on the technological aspect while maintaining a green agenda. Our designs incorporated wind and solar energy and water recycling.

“Students learned design, geometry and teamwork that they might not have otherwise. It’s been a great project and we’ll definitely be involved again next year”, the physics teacher said.

St Mel’s Construction Studies teacher Michael Galvin agreed on the success of the project, saying it allowed him to go about teaching construction in a different, more practical way. “It was certainly advantageous for the students; it put a different twist on teaching important aspects of construction studies while at the same time being fun.

The winning team came from St Mel’s with a design for a skate park located on the site of the old swimming pool in Longford Town, with the pool converted to a half-pipe (a U-shaped skate-boarding rink).

Some of the other great designs included a cinema with a built-in wind turbine (which the students demonstrated with a hair dryer); an extension to the existing swimming pool with added slides and a children’s pool; a coffee shop over the duck pond in the mall and an aquarium to name just a few.