Water Concerns Callan

Sam Carse

Technological University Dublin (TU Dublin)
Tags Public infrastructure, Waste
Year 2022


A project exploring a landscape of waste water treatment for the town of Callan. With one of Ireland’s most polluted rivers (through agricultural runoff) and a wastewater treatment plant limiting future housing capacity, an urgent infrastructural opportunity has arisen in this rural Kilkenny Town. A 17km network of riparian buffer zones was designed along the King’s River. Culminating in a new waste water treatment park within the town boundary.

Using more ecologically sensitive, natural processes to treat the wastewater allows it to be recycled into fertilizer. This is presented back to farmers in a ‘grow-op’ and can be used across their fields in compensation for lands given over to the riparian buffer scheme. Meanwhile the people of the town are given a river parkland and community greenhouse.

Architecturally the treatment plant must carefully balance these potentially conflicting needs of all stakeholders, and allow them to safely co-exist and thrive. It also borrows a material language from vernacular agriculture, with steel frames and concrete pads deemed necessary for a place of such civic importance, a cathedral of water.

The project challenges the conventional fortification of public infrastructure and allows the town to architecturally and socially engage with the river for the first time in its post colonial era. Giving the people collective agency in managing their own environment, making them custodians of the landscape.


1 Kings Ct, Bolton, Callan, Co. Kilkenny, R95 NP73, Ireland