Raise Your Game

by

CiT - Architecture course

I’ve been to a few final year exhibition openings as part of my life as a student, as a college lecturer and as creative director here in Fuzion.  Not just in graphic design, but in multi-media, fashion, ceramics and the full gamut of fine art courses on offer in a number of third level colleges.

It’s a great way to see up-and-coming talent, current trends in the various fields of study, and hiring talented staff (we have taken on two graduates from the final year exhibition in CIT’s Visual Communications courses in the past few years). But its taken until this year for me to be absolutely blown away by both an exhibition and an attitude from a course in the way that the Interior Architecture course in CIT did when I visited it last Wednesday.

Titled TRANSCEND 2016, the exhibition is primarily a showcase for the graduating 4th years, with work on display also by the 3rd years (and if you wander off the beaten track a little, some incredible work by other students from other years too!).

A number of things happen from the very moment that you enter the building.

Firstly, from the exterior of the building, it’s a pretty grotty looking 80’s dull-as-dishwater brown factory. But this is the beginning of the magic show.

Marc Riain - CIT Architecture

It has been commandeered by the department a couple of years ago and transformed (by Marc O’Riain, a senior lecturer in the department and an architect in his own right http://www.ruaarchitects.ie/ ) into a multi-award winning space that starts to impress you immediately, from the large Norman Foster model at the entrance to the innovative use of space and materials.

And this is all before you get to see any of the students’ work. As a space, you can see how it inspires the students to work harder and better, to want to be more creative and strive towards a career in their chosen field. There are several shipping containers along the left hand side of the space that create offices, work spaces, physical walls/dividers in an open space that appears to be as large (and open) as a football field.

You can see how it was a factory – and in that Warholian sense it still is a factory, but now instead of manual operators creating loss prevention devices, it nurtures talent and creativity. Students within this vast building have individual spaces to design and work, with communal areas so people can see what others are doing (and perhaps be inspired by this work) and it’s a space to be immensely proud of.

You would love to come to college here.

Transcend 2016- CIT ArchitectureBut back to the exhibition itself for a moment. The work level seems incredible – a standard of finish and design skills that were very high. Again, it looked like the students themselves had pushed themselves as much as any encouragement from teaching staff. Like they wanted to succeed. Like they had a hunger for it, a passion.

The work is displayed, especially by the 4th year graduates with professional precision and with purpose (have a look for Kristina Malantsuk’s work based on the Cork Bonded Warehouses). And this is where one of the most impressive factors struck me. They wanted jobs. They wanted to become employed practitioners. They could clearly see that this wasn’t a party as a self congratulatory pat on the back for turning up a few hours a day for 4 years, this was a recruitment drive.

And at the opening of the exhibition, something that I have never seen before happened. As Katherine Keane, Department Head & Marc O Riain finished their speeches, Marc ended by pointing at a door towards one of the more private areas of the building and said that anyone who wanted to interview a student could do so in that space.

And no messing, a number of people immediately walked towards that door to do so!

I think that there is a certain irony that the model at the main door is by Norman Foster Architects, because that is exactly what they do in that space – foster architects.

Attitude is so much a part of any success story.

Of course you must want to succeed and you must have a genuine product that is worthy of success. But you must look like you want to succeed.

Whats the point in having the best service or product in the world if it looks rubbish? You are only fooling yourself, because no one else will believe in something that looks like you don’t believe in it. From the minute you step into the space that is the Architecture Factory, you want it to be amazing, because it tells you that its amazing, and you believe in it.

Check out the superb work that is happening right now in Cork by visiting the Facebook page or the website for the exhibitions.

Well done to all these hungry students and the lecturers who are inspiring them to be the best.

Jonathan

Jonathan Leahy Maharaj leads the Graphic Design Department in Fuzion with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland 

 

 

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