Public CoLab 2018: Enlivening the Riverfront in Derry-Londonderry

Nuala Flood (Designer)

Research output: Non-textual formWeb publication/site

Abstract

Public CoLab is a collaborative research laboratory that leverages the power of architectural design research to investigate complex issues of public concern. Each year the laboratory harnesses the energy, skills and creativity of the BSc stage 1 and the MArch 1 architecture students at Queen’s University Belfast to understand a particularly pertinent spatial phenomenon in Northern Ireland.
The primary investigative conduit is an intensive week-long workshop, at the start of semester 2, where small teams of architecture students partner with subject experts and external collaborators to investigate a specific aspect of an overarching research question. Together the research teams leverage the power of architectural thinking to create visualizations, models and installations all of which serve to illuminate the spatial workings of the issue under investigation. These outputs are used to help to communicate the findings to a broader audience outside of the discipline of architecture.

In 2018, Public CoLab took the form of a live project that harnesses the skills, talents and creativity of the architecture students at QUB and directs them towards a pressing and pertinent issue facing the people of Derry-Londonderry. The project was developed in collaboration with a riverfront regeneration initiative called Our Future Foyle. It aims to understand the negative connotations associated with the River Foyle and promote a greater sense of health and wellbeing along its banks. It was commissioned and initiated by the Public Health Agency for Northern Ireland and implemented by the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design at the Royal College of Art, London. As part of this initiative, in 2017, a multi- disciplinary research team staged several public events to garner a broad range of public opinions about the issue under investigation. Approximately 4000 people partook in these activities. This process revealed that, at present, the riverfront is not being used to its full potential, and yet, it could become a valuable public place where people could exercise, play, relax and congregate. In response to this finding, the architecture students designed a number of interactive installations to bring vitality and joy to this part of the city. These interventions provide a place to pause and enjoy the landscape and, also, to showcase the output of one of two creative local enterprises. The first is a musical composition that reflects the River Foyle and the second is a number of 3D prints created as part of Remake, Reimagine Replay - a national lottery funded project that invites the children of Northern Ireland to reinterpret items for the regions museums using 3D printing technologies. A number of the installations, designed by the QUB students, were built and tested in-situ in late May 2018. The Derry/Londonderry based Fablab will played a key role in the manufacturing process and they worked closely with the students for the duration of the project.

Public CoLab 2018 was featured in a teaching methods book titled Small Group Teaching: Tutorials, Seminars and Workshops, by Kate Exley, Reg Dennick and Andrew Fisher
Original languageEnglish
Media of outputOnline
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jan 2018

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student
creativity
printing technology
river
teaching method
small group
visualization
research planning
public opinion
semester
museum
bank
manufacturing
public health
expert
art
energy
event
present
Teaching

Cite this

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Public CoLab 2018 : Enlivening the Riverfront in Derry-Londonderry. Flood, Nuala (Designer). 2018.

Research output: Non-textual formWeb publication/site

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