DIT Architecture Students Win at Third Level Student Wood Awards

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Minister Tom Hayes, TD, (second from right) with Karen Woods, Coillte and the awards’ co-ordinator, Mark Pringle and Philip Ryan, DIT, winners of the architectural section, Donal Magner, Wood Marketing Federation, and Nick Bailey, Cork Institute of Technology, who won the engineering award.

09 July 2013: Two DIT students have won the architecture section of the 2013 Third Level Student Wood Awards.

Mark Pringle and Philip Ryan earned the award for their project, ‘Design for disassembly’. It’s a five-storey development, constructed mainly in wood including the primary structure of solid load bearing panels (laminated without using chemical fixing), prefabricated external cladding and the internal furniture, based on Japanese wood joinery techniques. A model of the designed building was on display at the awards night.

Mark is a final year Architectural Technology student and Philip Ryan is a final year Architecture student. They have collaborated on this project since Christmas as part of their thesis work. Both looked at the same project with their different strengths and this collaboration is a great example of how students from two disciplines can work well together.

The project was overseen by final year architecture and architectural technology co-ordinators, Dermot Boyd, Johanna Cleary, Dominic Stevens and Sima Rouholamin. DIT School of Architecture's students have performed consistently well since the awards began in 2006.

The other two awards went to a UCD student for a project based in Dolphin House, Dublin, and a CIT student for an innovative wooden footbridge in a forest setting.

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Model of DIT winning project by Mark Pringle and Philip Ryan

It’s notable that the winning students from the three colleges fought off stiff competition, especially from traditionally high achieving colleges in wood design including Queen’s University, NUI Galway, GMIT Letterfrack and University of Ulster.

The awards were presented by Minister for State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine with responsibility for forestry, Tom Hayes, TD. The ceremony took place, fittingly, at the National Botanic Gardens.

The Third Level Student Wood Awards are organised by the Wood Marketing Federation in conjunction with Wood-NI and recognise the outstanding efforts of students of architecture, engineering and design who specialise in working with timber in students. There are three award categories – architecture, engineering in construction and innovative use of timber in design.

Minister Hayes said, “It is fitting that the work of students is recognised by the Irish forestry sector not just because of the quality of their output, but because it serves to highlight Irish expertise and represents an investment in the future of the Irish forestry industry.

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Mark Pringle and Philip Ryan, along with Sima Rouholamin, Lecturer at DIT, with Minister Tom Hayes, TD, who presented the awards at the Botanic Gardens, Dublin

“The students who participated in this year’s competition will, I trust, go on to enjoy successful careers in their fields and continue to display the creative use of Irish timber in their future work.”

The awards were judged by top professionals in the fields of architecture, engineering and design and the main sponsor was Coillte. 

One of the judges, architect and TV presenter Duncan Stewart, said he was throwing out a challenge to third level colleges to make timber mainstream in their courses.

DIT has already risen to this challenge – through its courses in construction, engineering and architecture. In addition, the second year of the recently launched BA in Timber Product Technology has just concluded.

And last year, students from the School of Engineering worked with students from the School of Architecture on a shared project using timber.

Head of the School of Civil & Building Services Engineering at DIT, John Turner, said there is a long history of wood being used as a structural material in Ireland. While there can be issues in accessing woods suitable for construction and engineering, at an affordable price, he said it is important to “support the rejuvenation of timber as a visible and more commonly used material.”

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