Sigginstown Castle

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Student Design Contest Jury and WIT

About Waterford Institute of Technology

Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) is a university-level institution in the South-East of Ireland with over 10,000 students and 1,000 staff. WIT offers tuition and research programmes in various areas from Higher Certificate to Degree to PhD. The School of Engineering  includes the Department of Architecture, which is home to over 300 students and 16 staff with international design qualifications and experience. It offers two honours degree programmes in Architecture and Architectural Technology, including offers an undergraduate degree in Architecture & Applied Conservation. 

Their philosophy as educators is to provide ‘a learning through doing’ environment using the studio classrooms as design & technical ‘workshops’ where ideas are explored and theoretical subjects integrated.Their approach also reflects the new paradigm in education by being student orientated and promoting the ethos of ‘life long learning’. Interdisciplinary links are an important ingredient strengthening links within the college community and the wider community as a whole. (We think their approach is wonderful, and gave all of us the opportunity to collaborate!)

Read the article posted on the WIT website...

About the Jury

We asked a number of people we knew to serve on an impartial jury in order to judge the contest.  Some live in Ireland, some in the United States.  The have a diverse range of backgrounds including architecture, engineering, conservation and castle planning.

We created the contest brief, guidelines, and judging from other architecture contests published worldwide. Liz & Gordon did not participate in the jury, as we wanted it to be impartial and not based on any pre-conceived ideas.

The judging was harder for some than they expected! Where practical information was missing (on cost, ecology or conservation, for example), they had to use common sense or their own experience to judge.

Once each juror had submitted their individual results, we tallied them and held a virtual conference call to review the results.  The jury decided to stick with the scores, awarding half the prize to Adam and Margaux as tied first place winners. Daniel was given third place.

We are very grateful to all of the jurors for trying something new, and provding their experience to us and the students!

Bena Stutchbury , Castle Hunter & Project Manager, France & Ireland

Bena Stutchbury grew up in London and came to Cork, Ireland in summers as a child. Bena made a permanent move to Ireland and took over her father’s architecture business in 1994. Bena specializes in renovating old buildings – her most famous endeavor has been Kilcoe Castle, owned by Jeremy Irons in West Cork. Bena was project manager for the renovation, leading teams of skilled workers and artists over several years. Since Kilcoe, Bena has advised many clients on castle purchases and planning permissions including Rincolisky Castle, Belvelly Castle, and Castle Pook in County Cork. Bena currently is working and living in France as a renovation project manager for a privately owned castle. She returns to Ireland periodically and continues providing consulting services remotely.

John Begley, Architect – Dublin, Ireland

John Begley is a UK, US & Irish educated architect currently working in Dublin. He lived and worked in Dubai and the Middle East where he was responsible for projects at all stages from concept to post contract / closing out. John previously ran his own architectural firm in Ireland for 10 years.

Richard Swann, Architect – Connecticut, USA

Richard Swann, AIA, is a registered architect in Connecticut and New York. He received a Master of Architecture degree from the University of California at Berkeley, a certificate from the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) and is a member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA). Rick’s firm is an independent practice devoted almost exclusively to private residences. Swann is also well versed with the New England vernacular, and the classical Georgian or Greek-revival model. He strives to fit solutions to problems, listening to clients' needs and wishes—not working in a single signature style.

Steve Trinkaus, Civil Engineer – Connecticut, USA

Steve Trinkaus is a Civil Engineer in Connecticut and an internationally recognized expert in the application of Low Impact Development  (LID)strategies, including the creation of LID Design Manuals. He has been an invited presenter on LID topics in Taiwan, China and South Korea. Steve’s current activities include chairing the Low Impact Development Model Ordinance Task Committee and Urban Water Resources Research Council. He has made many presentations on LID at regional, national, and international forums in addition to presenting full day workshops on LID for continuing education of other design professionals. 

John Creed, Civil Engineer - Wexford, Ireland

John Creed is a Chartered Engineer registered with Engineers Ireland. John has worked in Ireland and the UK on a wide variety of building and civil engineering projects including Canary Wharf, the Limehouse Link, and the Channel Tunnel. John’s experience in building and civil engineering includes the design and construction of reinforced concrete, structural steel, ground works, piling, building works and drainage, sewage treatment, and environmental works. Among his current main areas of interest are environmental issues and expert witness work; he has given evidence in the District, Circuit, and High Courts on a wide variety of engineering matters.

Catherin McLoughlin, Archaeologist & Conservation Consultant – Wexford, Ireland

Catherine McLoughlin holds a degree in Archaeology & Paleoecology, a Archaeological Licence and has worked on many large and small infrastructural projects including road-schemes, housing developments and wind-farms. She has directed excavations from rural prehistoric remains to urban medieval and post-medieval settlements. In recent years Catherine has become increasingly interested in the conservation of upstanding historic buildings and has worked on conservation projects relating to medieval churches and castles, stone farm buildings and mud-walled cottages, as well as the conservation of historic spaces such as graveyards. She recently graduated from Trinity College Dublin with a Post-Graduate Diploma in Applied Building Repair & Conservation. Catherine is a member of the Institute of Archaeologists of Ireland, a member of ICOMOS Ireland, and a member of the Building Limes Forum Network Ireland.
For additional information on the contest, contact 
Contest Brief

Why run a student competition?


1) Our children are at university and we know how hard it is to get relevant experience for a resume.

2) As professionals in our own industries,  we have had many students as interns who went on to be valuable colleagues.

3) We think young people, less encumbered by experience, can have great ideas that would otherwise not be considered.

What happens next?

We have reviewed each design and will likely take elements from certain ones, versus trying to implement the whole design.  Since the contest was run in parallel with a 3rd year architecture program, the students were not able to factor in our budgetary or conservation constraints.  We wanted them to be creative, and so they were!  Now we will ponder the results and likely implement a moderate design using some of their ideas. Thank you to all!