Katie Hamilton and Maegan Buckley were the prizewinners for this year’s student architecture competition which was sponsored by Cork Age Friendly Alliance, in conjunction with Cork Centre for Architectural Education.
The second year college students were asked to design an age friendly housing scheme specifically with older adults in mind. The site selected for the exercise was in James Street, Mitchelstown and the quality of the students’ work was quite exceptional. Katie, who was the overall winner, secured an internship in the architects department with Cork County Council while runner up Maegan received a travelling bursary.
Katie told The Avondhu she was honoured to be chosen as the winner of the Mitchelstown Competition. The 20 year old Meánscoil San Nioclás architecture second year student said there were almost 40 other entries in her class, all of which had strong themes and ideas, and all of which could have been winners.
“I was delighted that my design was recognised as age friendly and accessible and that the judges chose my scheme. The prize is an internship in the Cork County Council which is a huge and invaluable opportunity and one I was delighted to accept.”
The project took Katie eight weeks in total to complete, and included a visit to Mitchelstown where she surveyed the site and the surrounding context.
“I drew inspiration from the Mitchelstown Square which would be known for its market through the years. My scheme had an agricultural theme, resembling a farmyard layout. I had a large courtyard in the middle of the site surrounded by buildings similar to a farm layout. I created two bedroom units that resembled cow sheds. I also had apartment blocks hidden inside a barn styled building.
“During our site visit to Mitchelstown in the first week, there happened to be chickens on site that day. This gave me inspiration to create a space that everyone could use and enjoy. I designed a garden for vegetable growing and a space for a chicken coop,” added Katie.
After college, the ambitious student hopes to work as an architect abroad, an opportunity that would allow her to travel and gain insight into how other countries build their communities. She said that during her time with Cork County Council she has witnessed great teamwork and would like to work in an organisation with similar values.
Katie’s mother Brid Kenneally, is a professional artist and has her own Art Gallery (Noinín Gallery) in Dunagarvan. “When I was younger she always encouraged me to draw and paint and was thrilled when I got accepted into the architecture course,” Katie said.
Mitchelstown Library is currently holding an exhibition to display a selection of the students’ work for the summer months. Cork County Council Divisional Manager James Fogarty opened the exhibition.