Interview with Marc O Riain at Tuesday 1st of April 2014: DI: What is the main principle, idea and inspiration behind your design?
MO : I believe in designing from the user out and in truly bringing originality and excitement to designs. In college I was taught to design from first principals. So I really try to reinvent the wheel every time.
DI: What has been your main focus in designing this work? Especially what did you want to achieve?
MO : Collaboration and fostering community. I really believe in the power of peer learning in the studio environment. Also we have a very small budget and we had to deliver an intervention that was affordable. So we didn't build walls, for the most part, we avoided subdividing servicing which kept the sam prices low.
DI: What are your future plans for this award winning design?
MO : Enjoy it, share it with the Cork Design community, it will provide a public outreach with exhibition space, training and meeting space. For the students it is a home they never had, people respect it. I think will will age well.
DI: How long did it take you to design this particular concept?
MO : In reality the 'design conceptualisation' developed over 1 year through a lot of user input. In reality delivering the design took a further 2 years, and I fought tooth and nail to keep the concept together. This design had few believers before it was realised, so its a surprise to see it realised.
DI: Why did you design this particular concept? Was this design commissioned or did you decide to pursuit an inspiration?
MO : This design is was originated from me but many others help deliver the concept. It was however an inspiration that illustrated the possibility of the unwanted space. As a former industrial space, it needed to be remembered, the building speaks to you. The green colour reminds us of the outside and its strong vibrancy brings a power of invigoration to those who inhabit the space. The containers remind us of the use and location of Cork as a port city. It creates a sense of memory, a sense of here-here.
DI: Is your design being produced or used by another company, or do you plan to sell or lease the production rights or do you intent to produce your work yourself?
MO : The design is a collaboration of the design team. Its a once off, but it is inspiring others to adapt disused industrial spaces which is a great testament to its success and impact.
DI: What made you design this particular type of work?
MO : I have a belief that we must reuse our industrial heritage and reinvest our carbon rather than creating edifices to our egos. Architecture must change. Building Adaption is the future. This project is a looking glass......come through.
DI: Where there any other designs and/or designers that helped the influence the design of your work?
MO : Certainly there has been a lot of container projects, however it was the Renault Distribution Centre by Foster in Swindon which was an initial inspiration.
DI: Who is the target customer for his design?
MO : The students of the Department of Architecture.
DI: What sets this design apart from other similar or resembling concepts?
MO : The way it works.The acoustic design is quite complex. There are 240 people in this space and it actually functions quite well. Most container projects are not large scale occupations and this was achieved for a small budget.
DI: How did you come up with the name for this design? What does it mean?
MO : The Architecture Factory.
We are the department of Architecture and we are located in a former factory. We produce ideas not products.
DI: Which design tools did you use when you were working on this project?
MO : Sketching and Sketch-up, AutoCAD
DI: What is the most unique aspect of your design?
MO : You might think its the containers, but really the way the space works and allows for peer learning.
DI: Who did you collaborate with for this design? Did you work with people with technical / specialized skills?
MO : Neil Tobin and Kieran Condon from RKD Architects, Paul McGrath from ARUPs. Katherine Keane from the Department of Architecture, Conor O Neill from the Buildings and Estates office.
DI: What is the role of technology in this particular design?
MO : I suppose mostly in the visualisation. We used a lot of Wifi, nothing too technical as its a budget project.
DI: Is your design influenced by data or analytical research in any way? What kind of research did you conduct for making this design?
MO : We were definitely influenced by research on Studio learning , vertical projects and peer learning. OF course there is a lot of acoustic research over the years which has influenced the outcomes.
DI: What are some of the challenges you faced during the design/realization of your concept?
MO : The lack of a coherent collaborative vision of the final intent, but isn't that always the way? The builder created a lot of problems with multiple specification changes to the detriment of the final quality of elements like the floor.
DI: How did you decide to submit your design to an international design competition?
MO : We won the Irish Design grand Prix, so we thought it merited an entry.
DI: What did you learn or how did you improve yourself during the designing of this work?
MO : Perseverance, and pig headiness. I think that might be a regression.
DI: Any other things you would like to cover that have not been covered in these questions?
MO : no. thanks