Symbiotic Relationship of Humans & Rivers

The project explores the relationship between humankind and rivers: how humans perceive rivers and the two-way interactions that occur. It views rivers from a selection of perspectives such as the river as a life source, a transport route and a power source.

The site is the River Corrib and the surrounding land of Galway city. The design project will focus on Madeira Island, now a surface car park. The River Corrib once powered Galway city’s industry and trade but now has a much less prominent role in the city. The fact that the city is built on a massing of islands, shaped by a network of waterways, is no longer evident due to the orientation of public buildings and main routeways.

Education has long been an integral part of Galway city life. The city centre currently hosts a university, three secondary and primary schools. However, all three secondary schools are in the process of migrating outwards in search of larger grounds in the suburbs.

The aim of the project is to provoke public re-evaluation of the river and to re-orientate people towards it. The programme is a music school to strengthen the weakening educational framework of Galway’s city centre

Degrees of Repurposing Architecture

The thesis explores whether material can be reused within its local context to enhance the essence of place. In particular by exploring the ways in which materials could be recycled, the author searches for grounded sense of place for the surrounding community.

Given a fading sense of community in the town centre of Drogheda, the chosen programme was inspired by the urgency of the needs and values of the community. A need for safer spaces for the present community and for future generations is identified.

Repurposing the Abbey ruins of St. Mary d’Orso, which historically embodied a culture for caring in the community, the proposal brings it back to the forefront once more to tackle the issues of the present day, working through its materiality to establish an essence of place.

Social Architecture and its Impact on Mental Wellbeing

Architecture has the power to influence our lives in a profound and impactful way. Conscious and considered design has the ability to alter the way we think and behave, therefore affecting the way we feel. Design has proven its ability to assist in recovery or prolong the suffering of people dealing with mental health issues. Our growing understanding and awareness of mental illness and its complexity has helped destigmatize many mental disorders. The aim of my thesis is to research and implement architectural techniques and designs that promote positive mental health in urban areas.

The overarching aim of my thesis is to create a community within an existing area that promotes interaction between individuals. A driving force behind my thesis is the prevalence of loneliness and the feeling of isolation in many communities today. This is a growing issue that is incredibly hard to properly identify and has only been pushed to the forefront of the public consciousness in recent years. Intense loneliness has been proven to lead to depression and anxiety as well as many other mental illnesses, which I will explore further throughout my thesis. Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) is a relatively new practice which involves mindful and meditative techniques. Studies over the last thirty years have shown the positive impact MBCT has on patients suffering from various mental illnesses. By using similar techniques within architecture, I intend to explore how we can design spaces that benefit mental health on a community level.

The site I have chosen to work with is an existing carpark on Ellen Street in Limerick City centre. The space has an interesting and dynamic history in terms of use. St. Michael’s church and a derelict 1800s corn store sit to the west of my site while retail bookmarks the space to the east and west. The parallels between my research and the existing church create an interesting dynamic which I will explore further throughout my thesis.

My intention is to create a space within the city that can cater for a variety of demographics, promoting social interaction, mindfulness, communication and cultural/spiritual growth. For this reason, I have chosen a sculpture gallery as the focal point of my project. This will also include community rooms, a meditative garden, a food hall and a small number of rental workspaces.


My thesis is investigating how awareness of self and of the environment can be heightened through the experience of architecture. I examine how space can be moulded in a way that encourages active experience of space, and positively affects the human body and psyche. I examine how a relationship between architecture and nature can be beneficial to both humans and to the environment. 

My building proposal is located at the river edge in Limerick city centre, on Arthur’s Quay Park. The site is currently underused, and the University of Limerick intends to develop it into a university campus. I saw an opportunity to develop an architecture with which students and locals in the city centre can be properly engaged, in body and mind. The building I am proposing on the site is a school of art, architecture and making. Through the tools of light, material and structure, the proposal will encourage users to experience space in an active and mindful way that is inspired by nature.