Class of 2021 • Architecture

Donal O’Cionnfhaolaidh

UCD School of Architecture


Graduation Year
Class of 2021


Ireland’s damp climate is conducive for creating ruins. Timber quickly rots away, masonry is soon overgrown. Landscapes, once razed to make way for human consumption are re-colonized, becoming denser and richer than before. The process of re-colonization is slow and unassuming.
This thesis explores and evaluates the ecological significance of decay by conducting deep surveys of the Portlaw Cotton Mill through a variety of scales and mediums.

The resultant project is a collection of ideas, culminating in a series of interventions which offer an an alternative approach to re-use, rather than a singular designed piece of architecture. These provocations examine the relationship between new and old, testing the possibilities of constructing within a biodiverse landscape.

This thesis re-frames the process of dereliction and decay as an opportunity for ecological growth, and a way to find new narratives and meaning in our historical fabric.
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