The research projects of the 2017 MArch (Advanced Entry) students included the following:
Against the Grain; Why is timber underutilised in the Irish construction industry?
This study explores why timber is underused in construction in Ireland, given its environmental properties. The discourse in the area (framed by two exemplar case-study buildings and themed under procurement, policy-making and academia) is analysed relative to the research question. Action-based research took the form of a 'Wood First' motion tabled to South Dublin County Council, subsequently passed into policy. The literature was refined into questions for a two-stage, fourth-generation evaluation interview process. The findings reveal a complex matrix of relationships, knowledge/communication vacuums and misalignements. However, the matrix also identifies positive outcomes which can assist the development of timber for construction in the Republic of Ireland.
Mike O’ Dell
Through a Looking Glass, Darkly: the reflective tools of the architect through a virtual lens.
This work explores the role of immersive virtual reality as a reflective design tool used in the architectural design process. As a burgeoning technology, it is being co-opted into the architectural profession in an ad hoc fashion. We see this primarily in the form of a representational tool, demonstrating proposals to the end user, but it also has the potential to be a powerful reflective tool for the architect’s design process. This ad hoc nature can lead to a misunderstanding of the technology. If it is to be employed, a comprehensive understanding of its properties is essential.
The examination begins with a review of the architectural design method as an evolving process and how it has reacted to technological interference, both lasting and fleeting. A quantitative comparison between immersive virtual reality and the traditional reflective tools is then pursued under the established taxonomy of form, space and order. Finally with these precursors establishing the groundwork, the qualities of perception and understanding with regard to the mind’s eye is explored.
Tighín - the Tiny House in Ireland: an innovative solution?
With the cost of housing increasing relative to income, a decrease in the size of the traditional family unit, a more mobile working population and an increase in life expectancy globally, there has been a growing awareness of the need to match the requirements of the house owner to the size of the house more precisely. Over the past five decades the average Irish house size has increased from 62sqm in 1975 to 106sqm in the Celtic Tiger era, with the average again to 88sqm in 2016 (CSO 2016). As a ‘one size fits all’ approach to housing begins to be challenged, my research examines the potential role of the Tiny House Movement. This social and architectural initiative, which has gained much momentum in the United States since the 1990s, is critically examined in the Irish context, and particularly in terms of its wider implications for land use, construction costs, changing demographics and alterations to the family unit size.
Diving in: An immersive exploration of the river Liffey
Through the exploration of the River Liffey by acts of direct engagement, this research explores the acquisition and communication of site knowledge. I set out to identify and understand how we perceive a place, and in turn how that perception is communicated. Underpinning this research are the theories of phenomenology as described by Maurice Merleau-Ponty and situated knowledge theory as described by Donna Harraway. In this research project, I have endeavoured to demonstrate how the ideas of situated knowledge theory may be embodied in the acquisition and communication of site knowledge. The primary research question is thus: how do you acquire and communicate site knowledge using situated knowledge theory as a methodology?