Young architects re-imagine Ireland’s oldest city

Reimagining Ireland’s oldest city was the challenge tasked to some of the country’s most talented young graduate architects behind the Industria project.

As part of the Waterford Festival of Architecture, running this week, from Thursday to Saturday, architectural proposals will be exhibited through models, drawings, and visualisations produced by 47 graduates.

Industria is an exhibition and symposium presenting an ambitious research collaboration between IDA Ireland and recent graduates of the Dublin School of Architecture. The aim is to open up a discussion, on Waterford’s future, between architects, planners, business people, and the public.

The challenge that faced the Industria group was to reimagine the city with new possibilities for investment in a manner that respected the city’s heritage and character. To achieve this, they first carried out a detailed investigation into the city’s urban development, infrastructure, social, and political build-up, and geographic condition, which is presented in the exhibition.

Individual proposals were made the 47 graduates for a design of a new workplace in Waterford. They also collaborated on an urban proposal demonstrating how new projects would combine to improve and enhance the condition of various areas.

The areas included the North Quays, the Medieval Core, Ballybricken, and Belview Port.

Urban proposals included the introduction of a light-rail transport, the re-using of the abandoned trainline on the North Quays, various new cycling and pedestrian routes, and the establishment of a ‘green belt’ around the city perimeter.

Some of the projects were designed to be striking symbols of a new prosperous era in Waterford such as a 76m tower with an oyster bar on the top floor, a new signature hotel named ‘Americana’ on the South Quays, and a massive ‘Fab-Lab city’ stretching across the abandoned North Quay.

Other projects proposed re-using some of the city’s abandoned fabric, including RH Hall mill as a brewery and the Tycor factory as work spaces for start-ups.

A number of graduates proposed new possibilities for investment such as a mannequin factory in the city centre, a lavender farm on Mount Misery, and a paint factory on Little Island that would produce natural paints derived from local flora.

South-east regional manager of IDA Ireland Anne-Marie Tierney Le Roux was impressed by the range and diversity of solutions proposed by the graduates.

“It is the combination of vision, practicality, and creativity of the students that marks this project as a watershed in industrial planning and thinking for the south-east region.”

Industria, meanwhile, is the beginning of the graduates’ professional careers.

By designing new solutions for investment, the graduates aim to use Industria as proof they can play a role as architects in restructuring Ireland’s economy.


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