IT Sligo Students Have Designs on Counselling Centre Relocation

Undergraduates at IT Sligo say imaginative design is “a must” in any new-look rape counselling premises in Sligo.

The message emerged from a novel competition that gave final year Interior Architecture students the opportunity to provide advice to counsellors at the Rape Crisis and Sexual Abuse Counselling Centre Sligo, Leitrim and West Cavan (RCSACC).

The project involved eight students submitting proposals that provided the RCSACC with an information and ideas tool-kit on the feasibility of relocating in the town centre, including recommendations on user-friendly renovation priorities.

The competing students are in the final year of a four year Honours Degree in Interior Architecture and the winner of the competition was Patrick Fox, aged 22, from Sligo. The competition was organised by lecturers Peter Scanlon & Maeliosa O’Brien and the judging panel included representatives of the RCSACC and the building industry.

Peter Scanlon, who is co-ordinator of 4th year Interior Architecture degree programme at IT Sligo, said: “This was a live project over five weeks that was solidly embedded in our surrounding community. The aim was to develop an information and ideas tool-kit that the Centre could use in evaluating buildings for use in the event of relocation.”

Each student submitted a “change of use” analysis of building standards, fire safety, disability access and other regulatory requirements that would be needed.  Each also produced drawings of their ideas about the optimal internal design requirements that would be needed to facilitate the needs of staff, counsellors, volunteers and clients in renovated premises.

Peter Scanlon said:  “The standard of the entries was hugely encouraging and reflected the wide range of knowledge that the students have received at IT Sligo — learning that should give their job prospects a head start after they graduate.  The design element involved generating ideas for a convivial and beneficial environment in which the people who work in the Centre could be empowered even further to help their clients.”

He added: “What tipped the judges’ decision in Patrick’s favour was his introduction of nature and the environment into his design. He was able to integrate the restorative potential of the outdoor environment into his proposals.”

 Tina Horton, from the RCSACC, described the students’ submissions as outstanding. “Their presentations showed how they had listened to our needs and used their skills and creativity in producing not only very innovative design solutions but also in getting us to think about the potential of a building in an entirely new way.

“The feasibility studies they produced were of extremely high quality and will be invaluable to us in our pre-planning meeting with the Borough Council. Overall, we cannot thank the staff and the students enough. It was a pleasure working with them and the outcome of all their hard work will be of real value to us.”

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