Working with school students to re-imagine
their school environment


Project Phase:
St. Paul’s College Raheny, Dublin 5

Exhibition Phase:
NCAD Gallery, Dublin
VISUAL, Carlow
Triskel Art Centre, Cork
Ormeau Baths Gallery, Belfast
Regional Cultural Centre, Letterkenny


September 2010 – February 2012


Alice Clancy


Spring 2014

The Irish Architecture Foundation called upon Irish architects in January 2010 to team up with secondary schools across Ireland. The brief: to work with the students to re-imagine their school environment.

This practice worked with Transition Year students at St. Paul’s College, Raheny. During a series of workshops Robert Bourke gave the students a deeper insight into the design of their school environment through surveying, model making, user surveys, time-lapse video, photography and sketching. This culminated in a brainstorming session in which the students identified two areas for improvement: the lack of a proper school canteen and the need for a dedicated study and social space for senior students.

Our proposal was among the ten selected from 120 participating architects working with 1500 Transition Year students in 90 schools around Ireland. Our design was developed into a traveling exhibition that traveled to arts venues around Ireland and was featured in an award-winning publication.

The film below was part of our exhibition piece and was reflected in a mirror suspended from a table displaying a laser-cut model of the re-imagined school. Visitors sat on a bench that was designed and assembled by the students from discarded school chair legs and tabletops.