Sunday 21 September 2014

It's blueprint for success boosted by accreditation

Harry Keaney

Published 11/06/2013 | 05:40

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Selma Harrington, President of the Architects Council of Europe, giving the keynote address at the exhibition of student Architecture and Design projects at IT Sligo.

IT may be 'interior' architecture. But at IT Sligo, it's out on top.

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The college's interior architecture degree has now been professionally accredited by the Royal Institute of British Architects.

IT Sligo is the first higher education institution in Ireland to offer an interior architecture degree that is formally accredited by the architecture profession.

It is a very significant boost for the stature of the degree and the graduates who receive it.

This specialist architectural degree focuses on what is expected to be a growing need in Ireland.

That's the transformation of buildings from traditional purposes to contemporary and sustainable re-use.

The accreditation was announced recently at a major exhibition of student Architecture and Design projects attended by leading Irish and other European figures in architecture.

Selma Harrington, President of the Architects Council of Europe, gave the keynote address.

Other speakers included Ciaran Mackel, a former President of the Royal Society of Ulster Architects.

Bernadette Donohoe, Programme Chair for Interior Architecture at the Institute, said: "This development is highly significant for the IT Sligo's Interior Architecture programme and its students, and the future of architecture in Ireland."

The accolade also means that IT Sligo Institute is now the only centre in the West of Ireland that has a RIBA validated Architecture degree.

Trevor McSharry, Head of the Department of Civil Engineering and Construction, at IT Sligo, said: "Re-use and retrofitting of existing buildings will lead to significant employment in the future. In fact some of our new graduates are already being snapped up for jobs."

Interior architecture is a relatively young specialism.

It enables traditional premises which served a specific purpose to be repurposed for a new contemporary function while also retaining their character in their surrounding environment.

It differs from mainstream architecture in that it focuses on the potential for repurposing, restoring and "reimagining" existing buildings.

It prolongs a building's lifespan, preserves its streetscape or landscape setting and is an alternative to progressive deterioration or demolition.

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