Over 180 Design Students from four separate UL undergraduate programmes have today unveiled their design work in the spectacular surrounds of the former Franciscan Church in the heart of Limerick City. The inaugural Design@UL exhibition brings together for the first time the diversity of design ingenuity of the UL students of Architecture, Product Design, Civil Engineering and Digital and Interactive Media as presented through their drawings, models, projections, photographs, prototypes, texts and sketchbooks.
The event was launched by UL President Professor Don Barry who said that design thinking, and the development of design-led teaching and learning are significant and expanding fields of academic activity at UL. “These new fields of activity have potentially far reaching and important consequences within the academic and physical landscape at UL as well as for the regeneration of Limerick City. On this premise Design@UL was formed in 2011 to explore how the various strands of design across the University could be brought together, whilst facilitating the various disciplines to collaborate in both teaching and research. Locating the exhibition in the City Centre I hope will bring people of all interests to the Franciscans to see the designs and maybe introduce UL to an even wider audience and build the University presence in the City,” said Professor Barry.
Many of the architecture designs include potential solutions for aspects of the regeneration of Limerick City and its surrounding regions. Fifth Year Architecture Student Marian Dinneen has designed spaces for civic engagement, citizenship, and alternative local government in the centre of Limerick City. Planned around the series of basement vaults underneath the Georgian buildings of O’Connell Street, Marian designed a Greek agora-type space, roofed at certain points, where the street becomes a room where people would gather and discuss, debate and argue and celebrate a shared identity.
Ingenious inventions were also on display by some of UL’s Product Design students including a surfing hood that reduces the risk of ‘surfer’s ear’; a device to aid in the breaking in of horses and ponies; an inclusive play structure for children with autism; an automated CPR and AED device for use on a person in cardiac arrest; an integrated and automated airport security system and a domestic tree maintenance & branch remover tool.
Civil Engineering student Matt Collins developed analytical methods for the design of timber gridshells, and elegant structural form that allows the use of small timber sections to span large distances using timber in a sustainable way. The exhibition also includes one of the first year civil engineering projects with saw students construct full scale footbridges used to successfully and safely convey one of their lecturers Dr Declan Phillips over one of the large fountains on the UL campus !
A number of awards were presented at the launch of the exhibition including the Logitech Designer of the Year Award which went to Product Design Student, Eoin White, for his project entitled “‘Pod’ Kitchen Garden Growing System”.
The ProCAD Autodesk First Year (for year 2010-11) Award was presented to Darren O’Connor.
The Architecture Thesis Award 2012 was awarded to Marian Dinneen (Co. Cork) with students Sarah Keane (Galway), Gavin Doheny (Tipperary), and Úna Breathnach HIfearnáin (Mayo) receiving ‘ highly recommended’ accolades for their final year theses.
The exhibition is free of charge and open to the public from today until June 3rd.