Town Ecologies Recipients announced

Three wonderful architectural collectives and practices join our broader team on projects in Kilkenny this summer!

We are delighted to announce the successful Town Ecologies recipients. Funded by the Arts Council, with mentoring support from Kilkenny LEADER Partnership and Kilkenny County Council, Town Ecologies supports three Irish emerging architects to develop their co-design and participatory community engagement skills and experience within a rural context.

Kate Griffin and Andrea Doyle
Town Ecologies Recipients 1/3

Andrea Doyle and Kate Griffin will work with us on town renewal engagement in Ballyragget. Kate is an architect with O’Donnell + Tuomey and Andrea with Metropolitan Workshop, both based in Dublin. Since meeting as students at UCD School of Architecture, they have collaborated on multiple projects and competitions, developing a common design ethic. They bring significant experience in community-led design to Town Ecologies.

Here they introduce themselves and what taking part in Town Ecologies means to them: “We are Andrea and Kate. We are excited to be working in the town of Ballyragget. Together we have years of experience working on complex buildings of varying scales with a focus on cultural spaces, adaptive re-use and low energy buildings. We have both contributed to community led design, and Andrea had the unique opportunity to work on Marmalade Lane Co-Housing by Mole Architects. This was one of the first community led housing schemes of its kind in the UK, and now serves as a model for co-design and custom building locally and internationally.

The Town Ecologies brief reflects our own vision of how participatory design can enable the community to exercise more control over their built environment. This has never been more crucial or had so much potential for our towns and villages. This requires a change to the traditional role of the architect, where we become the facilitator and the listener. We understand from experience the complexities and the benefits of a design created for and by an engaged community. We see this as an opportunity to further develop our collaborative skills to make a place where sustainability is measured in terms of long lasting enjoyment by an intergenerational community. Communities and architects combined have the capacity to organise and initiate immediate change.” –Andrea and Kate

Uncertain Futures
Town Ecologies Recipients 2/3

Uncertain Futures is a collaborative working group consisting of Cillian McGrath, Rory McDonald and Oliver Redmond. The group met at the The Dublin School of Architecture, TU Dublin. At the heart of the group is an enthusiasm to re-think spatial design practice as a more participatory and public led exercise. They will work as part of the team collaborating on the Ballykeeffe Amphitheatre Feasibility Study.

Since meeting in college, they have explored a wide range of practice from research, to professional architecture and collaborative workshops. Cillian recently completed a research-based Masters in Architecture at TUDublin and Rory is currently studying for an MA in Communication Design at NCAD.

Here they write about their interest in spatial design in an uncertain world: –Uncertain Futures believe that processes of design should be more accessible, democratic and demystified for the general public. They embrace optimistic confidence in the opinion of all people and believe that public engagement is a form of valuable community empowerment rather than an inconvenience. At the heart of the group is an enthusiasm to re-think spatial design practice as a more participatory and public led exercise and the idea that designers should act as facilitators of this collective process. Uncertain Futures strive to embrace an open-minded design approach, one which is less pre-determined and also welcoming of the uncertainties of each project.–Uncertain Futures 

Islander Architects 
Town Ecologies Recipients 3/3

Islander Architects are based in the coastal town of Balbriggan, County Dublin. Established in 2020 by Laura Carroll and Ciarán Molumby, they are passionate about creating well crafted and joyful architecture. Laura and Ciarán will work as part of the wider Dunnamaggin village development plan.

They are both registered architects having trained at The Dublin School of Architecture, TU Dublin. The name Islander evokes a spirit of being resourceful and responding to the uniqueness of each project. 

We talked to Laura and Ciarán about their motivation to take part in Town Ecologies: “We are interested in exploring the relationship the suburbs, villages and small towns have with the architecture that makes them. As an emerging practice, we are keen to engage in projects that will improve our built landscapes and have far reaching benefits for its users. The Town Ecologies programme mirrors our aspirations and is a great opportunity to develop new design skills through working directly with a community on a rural renewal project. The mentorship and support provided by Workhouse Union, Kilkenny LEADER Partnership and Kilkenny County Council will have a lasting impact on how we will approach future work. It is a fantastic platform for us to forge positive relationships with Kilkenny and especially the community of Dunnamaggin.” – Islander Architects