The event was designed to replicate real world practice, with the students defending their schemes in front of industry and academic experts including representatives from Waterways Ireland (acting as the client), Quinn Building Products, APS and Senior Academics from Ulster University.
The designs proposed a hypothetical development for an iconic brownfield site in the Dublin Docklands and followed on from a rapid industry feedforward session with leading local and international firms.
The Architectural Technology and Management programme at Ulster University is widely recognised and respected for embracing digital technology and using this to complement the sound technical knowledge of the students. This was evident on the day, with all the schemes modelled using BIM authoring software and incorporating industry standard BIM information management processes.
David Comiskey, event organiser and Senior Lecturer from Ulster University’s Belfast School of Architecture & Built Environment, said, “The site presented to the students was extremely complex. It was situated adjacent to Grand Canal Dock, was very narrow and incorporated two graving docks which were to be retained. However, the students rose to the challenge and presented schemes which were innovative yet functional and most importantly buildable.”
Kenny Faulkner (APS), who was on the judging panel, added, “The standard of work on show was exceptional and the students presented their schemes in a highly professional manner. The future of the Architectural Technology profession in Northern Ireland is safe with this calibre of students graduating from Ulster University and pushing the boundaries of what is possible in terms of both aesthetic and technical design.”
Declan Loane, Quinn Building Products, panel member, said, “I was particular impressed by how the student designs were performance based. They used the latest BIM authoring and analysis software to model their schemes and predict the performance in terms of energy use, amending the schemes when necessary to ensure optimum performance.
Ulster University alumni Gary McCausland, CEO of Richland Group and well known for his media and television work, was also in attendance and inspired the students with a guest talk.