DIT graduates present their proposals for reusing the James Plunkett Tower to Ballymun Regeneration Ltd

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Noel and AJ with Anne Lynch and Eamon Farrelly of BRL being presented with the book Memories Milestones and New Horizons – Reflections on the Regeneration of Ballymun edited by Aibhlín McCrann

05 November 2013: Two recent Dublin School of Architecture (DSA) graduates have presented their proposals for the reusing of James Plunkett Tower, the last remaining tower in Ballymun.

Noel Roche and AJ Hutchinson presented their proposals to the Projects and Contracts Liaison Manager, the Deputy City Architect, the Senior Architect and other staff at Ballymun Regeneration Ltd (BRL).

The graduates developed the idea for the tower through their participation in a collaborative project between fourth year architecture and third year architectural technology students at DSA during 2011/12.

The proposal argues for the retention and remodelling of the tower. Funding from DIT Foundation allowed the students to present their proposals to BRL in framed high quality prints.

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View of James Plunkett Tower in Ballymun

Noel Roche explained his architectural design proposal which envisages transforming the tower into: “‘The Ballymun Mediatheque’ comprising a double height arcade at ground level, a library, apartments and sitting atop the concrete, a new performance space in lightweight steel and glass: a beacon of learning to the whole city,” he said.

The proposal would involve the removal of the core of the tower thus creating a “light-flooded 16-storey atrium connecting all levels allowing for natural daylight and ventilation systems.”

A.J. Hutchinson, who had developed the project for his technical thesis, then explained the challenges he encountered with the design in terms of compliance with building regulations and ensuring structural stability.

At the presentation both students explained that they found the collaborative process very productive and informative of their respective disciplines.

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Noel and AJ present their project

At the presentation, the BRL staff were intrigued by the student collaborative project. Much discussion ensued on the feasibility of the retention and remodelling of such towers.

Anne Lynch, Senior Architect at BRL said later:  “The choice of such a challenging site by the students is a testimony of their confidence and ability as an architectural team. The interventions that they have explored in the development of the project are strong in architectural and technical content and the presentation is very clear and thoughtfully executed.

“The resulting scheme displays a keen understanding of the objectives set out in the BRL Masterplan. We are very pleased to have received these framed drawings for exhibition to the public and I hope that they will contribute to a timely discussion in relation to the future of the last tower block in Ballymun.”

Both Noel and AJ graduated from DIT this year. Noel is currently working with Heneghan Peng Architects in Dublin and AJ is working with Atkins Architects in Dubai.

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Anne Lynch, Senior Architect at BRL; Eamon Farrelly, Projects & Contracts Liaison Manager BRL; AJ Hutchinson, recent Architectural Technology Graduate at DSA, DIT; Noel Roche, recent Architecture Graduate at DSA, DIT; Paul Kelly and Jim Roche, studio leaders at DSA, DIT and Derry Solon, Deputy City Architect Dublin City Council.

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