The third year Waterford architecture students competed against engineering and design students from Trinity College, DCU, TUD and NCAD
Two Bachelor of Architecture (Hons) students at Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) were joint overall winners in the annual national student competition organized by ‘Engineers without Borders’ while two more students were shortlisted.
The winning project from third year Architecture students was the design of a new primary school with student accommodation in a rural area of Zambia.
“Where There Is No Engineer – Designing for Community Resilience” is a design initiative coordinated by Engineers Without Borders (EWB) Ireland and the Development Technology in the Community (DTC) Research Group in TU Dublin.
Alan Fitzgerald and Mark McGinley who were in third year when they entered the competition were announced as winners in May 2021. The winning project was the design of a new primary school with student accommodation in a rural area of Zambia.
Their classmates Dominika Kuzniar and Alena Staats were also shortlisted.
Máire Henry, Head of the Department of Architecture and the Built Environment, WIT said: “This is a tremendous achievement for our 3rd year students who were up against engineering and design students from Trinity College, DCU, TUD and NCAD.”
The international jury described all four projects as extraordinary and commended the students on their research and on the quality of their submissions. Lecturers Fintan Duffy and Jurgen Bauer along with the students organized a number of workshops with international engineers and architects who have worked in Zambia.
Mark had this to say: “Once we heard of the competition, my colleagues and I felt compelled to participate, feeling that WTINE's vision was a just cause to support. After working alongside a range of incredible professionals in the engineering world, who have all worked on sustainable projects in developing countries, I created "The Street" Primary School, a school design focused on protecting and educating Orphaned and Vulnerable Children (OVC). Overall, it was an incredible experience and a sharp learning curve for all involved. We were incredible lucky to work alongside a range of different professionals as we gained a grasp of life over in Kabwe, Zambia.”
Alan added: "I was delighted to win this award with Mark and to represent WIT alongside himself, Alena and Dominika. Architecture can be demanding and it's easy to doubt your abilities from time to time. This experience has given me an extra push to continue my studies with a little more confidence. I'd like to thank Jurgen, Fintan and Máire, as well as Emma and Liam from EWB, both for the fantastic project and for keeping us motivated and engaged throughout a difficult year. I am looking forward to visiting Zambia and the school in Chileya some time in the future.”
“Participating in this initiative has been an enriching experience both on a personal and educational level. It has shifted my perspective on design and the positive impact one could have on communities in developing countries when one is aware of the needs of a community and their way of life,” said Dominika.
"Having access to first-hand information from engineers and volunteers who worked in such areas throughout the competition was invaluable. The competition has sparked my interest in questioning the role of design in the challenges of the 21st century. This led me to a take part in a summer school course: 'Green Building Solutions' organised by BOKU University in Vienna. During the course many important questions were raised about the built environment which further deepened my curiosity about the topic. Considering the environmental situation and the future outlook, I strongly believe that the skills gained during this experience will stand to me in the future career opportunities," she continued.
“Well done to all our students and sincere thanks to to Fintan and Jurgen for their support,” added Henry.
Engineers without borders directors Liam McCarton and Emma Brown organized the competition. They gave workshops to the students and attended intermediate design reviews.
Themes of climate, culture, community, security, safety, comfort, craft, buildability, and affordability were explored in the students’ designs.