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A Project for Paraic Inis Óirr, Aran Islands, Galway

Part 2 Project 2012
Laura O'Gorman
Queen's University Belfast Belfast UK

This design project is the fruit of a close reading of the pattern language and idiosyncrasy of the fields and walls along the farm built by Paraic Póil and his family. It was through this reading that I arrived at an understanding of the Aran landscape.
Typical of any farm on the Aran Islands, Paraic’s farm is derived from the ancient ‘Baile’ land division system which divided land into self sustainable units.
The design thesis proposes three structures along Póils farm, to aid in supporting the self sustainability of his lifestyle.

The first site is at Póil’s seaweed collection plot Trácht Míchel. The proposal is for a seaweed drying structure and intertidal pool.

The second site is Creig na nGabhar, a field in the middle of Paraic’s farm. The proposal is for a large combined rainwater collection structure and greenhouses. The greenhouse would allow Paraic to grow exotic fruit and vegetables that are otherwise unavailable on the island. The roofs of the greenhouses collect water and deliver it into a large tank. This fresh water is then available to the farmers in Ceathrú an Chaisleáin to bring to their animals in the surrounding fields. The tank has the capacity to store a two month supply of fresh water for seventy cows. The structure is a room within a room, but appears as object from the horizon.

The third site is to the North of the island where inhabitation occurs. It is a proposal for a farmstead with a kitchen garden and apiary. The farmstead sits directly on the threshold of inhabitation, between the houses and the fields. The design is informed by the spatial experience of walking through the laneways and fields with regard to spaces as rooms, objects in space and visual prospect

For the interior of the house I have designed and constructed a three-legged stool for Paraic. The stool is to sit in the hallway of the house and is custom designed for removing and putting on shoes. The back leg is expressed on the seat for the comfort of placing a foot upon.

Laura O'Gorman


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