European Architectural Medals for the Best Diploma Projects (EAM BDP) is an annual
European competition that awards excellence in crossing the threshold from education to profession.The aims of the European Architectural Medals for the Best Diploma Projects competition are:
to generate discourse on architectural education.
to raise awareness of the challenges facing future architects and of the need to respond skillfully,
to promote quality standards among European and international architecture schools,
Every Architectural School within Europe was invited to nominate two students for the awards. Sean William Murphy was one of two students nominated from SAUL (School of Architecture University Limerick)
156 student projects were submitted. Of these 30 were shortlisted. 8 projects received awards.
Two of the top 8 projects represented Irish Architectural Schools - Sean received an Honourable Mention for his thesis project. The other nominated SAUL project was shortlisted with a DIT Bolton Street student receiving an honourable mention for their project.
WELL DONE SEAN!
Benevolent Scarring: An exercise of social and physical palimpsest within a complex urban fabric
The project explores how a maternity hospital, a typology of structure often ignorant to its context, could engage with sensitivity and acknowledgement of the surrounding urban fabric, ultimately enhancing the dialogue between structure and user. Hospitals can lack personal connection to users, appearing as an institution or machine. The project engages with the concept of bringing a maternity hospital back to its very nature, back to the domestic, back to a personal human scale. The positive establishment and integration of new architectural expressions within the context, was aided by a deep understanding and a sense of place.
Aspects of the sites former use as a gasworks was reinterpreted into elements of a new architectural expression, the sites history being addressed within the form and materiality of a new structure. Along with a physical palimpsest, a social palimpsest was created, a spectrum of different users engaging with the structure. The foremost spatial quality created was one of inclusiveness and accessibility a reflective solution to the civic reality of its context. The project can be described as a series of narratives, the stories of the individuals using the space, but also described as the narrative of a city, reflecting the materiality, spacial qualities and form of the city.
The projects engagement aids the embodiment of the cultural collective of the location and helps strengthen its identity. A project of reflective presence within the public realm. The thesis explores the history of a working class city, which while romantic in parts is deeply unsettled, where fragments of a grand history remain, raising the question to the role of these fragments within a new architecture and how to move forward. What makes the proposal unique is the scales at which it explores this through the lens of palimpsest. The student achieved a qualitative user experience through a series of courtyards, aiding navigation, while also giving a proximity to nature as an interior experience with the health and calming benefits that it entails.
The grid expresses the project architecturally as a series of smaller buildings, creating a striking contemporary language set against the traditional forms of the housing that surrounds. The reference to the language of domesticity in a place for the creation of life, critics thought this was a sophisticated response, both poetic and playful, equally contextual and contemporary.
The thesis questions a true architectural idea on a series of scales. The project simultaneously explores its idea while keeping a critically objective view as a piece of architecture, creating beautiful spaces. The thesis explored contemporary theoretical themes and executed them in a very sophisticated building which in the critics minds is a beautiful and delicate project.
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