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Week 10 – The Hothouse goes to college

Thursday, November 12th, 2009

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On Wednesday October 17th, the Hothouse Team revisited the Speed Architecture process with the final year Architectural Technology students in the Dublin Institute of Technology. The Clongriffin Hothouse project forms the core of their forth and final year thesis. The twenty students are broken up into four groups of five and are under the guidance of experienced architects on this project.

We adapted the process to concentrate more on the building process  and the community involvement requirements. The students impressed us with their preparation and consideration of the issues involved in this challenging project. We left confident that the design process was in good hands. Already looking forward to next spring and seeing the results of their hard work.

This session gave us a second chance to try out the speed architecture and dot voting method and we liked it as a process as it engages, maintains momentum and allows the quick gathering of group thoughts and priorities.

» Jeremy » Ken » Eimear » Deirdre

Week 10 – Grow Local

Thursday, November 12th, 2009

Cardboard model of our cardboard office

The working title of our project is Grow Local. The objectives of this project are to try uncover all of the hidden talent and potential that exists in Clongriffin. Today the Grow Local team worked on creating a prototype that will represent an enterprise unit.

The prototype we have designed will test the level of interest in an office share that features Hotdesking(communal work stations). The plan is to create a replica of an office using cardboard and locate it in an empty unit on the main street of  Clongriffin.

In order to capture this information — and make it visible for others — we have created a 3D map. This map will allow us to plot all of the skills, interests and services the area has to offer. The hope is that our cardboard installation will attract people into the space where we can invite them to make an addition to the asset map.

(Above is an image of a model which shows how the 3D map and cardboard office installation will be organised within the space.)

» Eilish

Week 10 – Communication

Thursday, November 12th, 2009

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Since our first week in Clongriffin, questions began to arise concerning the issue of communication. We heard that there was a general disconnect in the community (people didn’t know their neighbours, people don’t stop and talk to each other etc.). During our week with the KaosPilots, two processes were designed in order to explore these issues; including Giant newspaper and Outdoor living room (more here).

What we learned from these two processes went on to inform a second iteration; managed by Sarah, Ken and Marcos. The work carried out by the three team members dealt with two components:

  1. How digital technology could be used to encourage communal interaction.
  2. How more traditional mediums could be used to encourage communal interaction.

Now that this project is in its third iteration, we have begun by examining the information gathered from both of the previous iterations. We intend on trying and testing a whole series of possibilities that will build on the previous work. So far, we have tested some very basic ideas, such as drawing on the hoarding on chalk (pictured above).

» Jim » Sophie

Week 10 – Understanding project relationships

Tuesday, November 10th, 2009

With the five projects – Grow Local, Hothouse, Communication Exchange, Path to the Coast and PlayVision growing, going deeper and becoming more and more self-sustaining by the day, we decided to take some time to understand how the five projects all related to each other. This will help us see what we are working towards as a group, the relationship between each project and how they can assist each other in the final weeks. There is a common thread between all of the projects, however identifying and naming it proved trickier than the team would have expected! Vannesa asked each of us to draw ‘What we understand the relationship between the projects to be?’ It was surprising to see the difference in perspectives. We have all been so focused on the project we are working on, it feels very hard to step away from it and be able to see clearly and understand the five projects as a whole.

After much brain crunching and both subtle and not-so-subtle pointers from Vannesa, we realised the relationships were much closer and more reliant on one another than we had previously recognised. With Hothouse, Grow Local and Path to the Coast the three long-term projects, given the levels of project champions they had each received, Communication Exchange is facilitating these three projects to meet the community and gain further project champions, PlayVision is a means of the community expressing themselves, which is key to growing a culture of self-expression and in turn will build towards the three main projects.

With these relationships clear in our minds, we can now move forward with a greater depth and synthesis of understanding of all the projects, and working positively as a team to produce the best outcomes for Clongriffin.

Week 9 – Sounding team visits Clongriffin

Friday, November 6th, 2009

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This week, we moved back to Clongriffin. We arrived early in the morning and set up the presentation for the sounding group in the suite on the main street. This time, the sounding team included: Ali Grehan (Dublin City Council – Senior Architect), Dick Gleeson (Dublin City planner), Lorna Maxwell (Dublin City Council – Senior Executive Officer) and Jim Dunne (Design Twentyfirst Century).

Each team had 15 minutes to present and answer questions. Overall, the feedback was positive and we were told that the projects had evolved since the last time we met with them. We had a meeting to discuss the comments we received. Our plan for next week is to keep working on the projects and prototypes in Clongriffin based on feedback we received.

» Marcos

Week 9 – Speed Architecture

Thursday, November 5th, 2009

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The Community Hothouse Project held its second meeting on Wednesday 11th of November. The objective was to quickly capture the community wishes for the proposed community hothouse. The Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) and the four architecture firms involved were present at the session. For this, we adapted a process first used with the KaosPilots back in September.

We asked the community a number of questions under three headings: Dream Building, Building Care , Activities & Stuff. This process was to help the community think about the look and feel of the building, the kind of activities they saw happening in it and how building might be maintained.

While the community numbers were smaller than our first meeting — it was bucketing rain — we got very high quality input. It became clear that the community primarily saw this as a place to meet and gather rather than a sports facility, that they rated the green/eco nature of the building highly and that they wanted as much light as possible. We let the community know that the process would be documented and circulated back to them and would be finalised by the 20th.

We were pleased with the process as it gathered the required information quickly and in a fun manner and felt the process was educational for us, the community and the architects.

» Deirdre » Jeremy » Rachel » Ken

Week 9 – Swapping teams

Wednesday, November 4th, 2009

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This week, the group has experienced a lot of change. Swapping teams has helped us to understand the importance of being more open with each other and sharing our ideas. It has also taught us that we shouldn’t be afraid to let certain projects die if they aren’t working. The new teams have injected a new kind energy into the group in total. We are all feeling very positive. Luke, Emmanuelle, Brian and myself are working on the local expressionproject. Up until now, we have all been working on different projects. The experience we have gained working on these projects should help enrich the process.

» Marcos

Week 9 – Voting on projects

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009

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On Monday morning we reviewed our week in Clongriffin. Vannesa discussed the Dublin City Council’s request with us and the feedback from our presentations. Each team had to write up a document to capture the projects current state. Vannesa gave us a number of headings for paragraphs to be completed (e.g. what we heard, processes of engagement tried so far, next steps, personal learnings etc.)

After completing this task we then began choosing the projects that we wanted to work on. Vannesa created a grid. This grid included certain headings, such as: what we heard a need for, where we identified a project, where the project is located etc. Using post-its, we wrote all of the projects down and placed them upon the grid. Once this was in place, we began voting on the projects.

On Tuesday morning, we had a meeting to count the votes from the previous day. The projects that were chosen included: Community hothouse, trail to the coast, communication & exchange, expression, grow economy, social town, local expression.

In order to keep things fresh, Vannesa decided to mix things up a bit. Picking our names out of a hat, she re-mixed the teams. These new teams will stay together for the remainder of the week. This kind of democratic approach helps us to stay loose. It also generates space for the unexpected to happen.

» Marcos

Week 8 – Community Hothouse launches

Friday, October 30th, 2009

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11 interested parties attended a meeting on Tuesday November 3rd on the Community Hothouse proposal. Those present included residents, a teacher and members of a local church. Deirdre, Luke and Peter made the presentation on what would be involved in the community designing, building and running their own community centre in Clongriffin. The need for this new centre was identified as residents frequently commented on the lack of a shared venue that could host local meetings, cafés and other local community activities.

Dublin City Council site is available for a temporary building opposite the park on the main street — beside Trinity Sport & Leisure Club. Dublin Institute of Technology offer of assistance was outlined to the residents. Four architects would draw up different designs for the site taking into account the need for community involvement in the construction and management of the building.

Residents raised questions on how the building would be financed, was the site too far from the schools for everyday use;  would the building be staffed, the practicalities of getting residents involved in the building and other practical issues.  It was agreed there was sufficient interest to allow the DIT proposal to continue and that the group would reconvene again the following week for a speed architecture session to explore community desires for this centre.

It was very heartening for the Designing Dublin team to get such a positive reaction to the proposal particularly when we followed the thread on clongriffinresidents.com. There were of course reservations and questions but the community was more than willing to explore this concept further.

» Deirdre

Week 8 – Trying out & testing ideas

Friday, October 30th, 2009

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The rest of the week was spent further crafting the projects and testing the ideas with the people of Clongriffin who had come by the office. Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t on our side, which made having a presence on the street quite difficult. So instead, we tried to think of as many ways to get the word out as possible. Eilish and Brian took action, boarding the 128 bus to hand out Designing Dublin chocolate bars!

» Rachel