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Sep/Oct 2012

Simon McGuinness
A good start is half the battle, says Simon McGuinness Certified Passive House Designer at Simon McGuinness Architects and lecturer in DIT. Equipping young architects with the skillsets, experience and attitude to go out and compete in the current workplace is no easy challenge these days, but it is one that Simon rises to on a daily basis. He talks to Plan Magazine about  the challenges facing both young and seasoned architects  at the moment.


How would you best describe the current market for architectural services
Recent estimates based on fee data suggested that the total market for architectural services in Ireland is currently 10% of its 2006 peak. No other sector has suffered a 90% reduction in demand for its services. That cannot exactly be described as buoyant, but it is not without hope.
How are you adapting course content to reflect the needs of today’s design projects
We have just completed the first year of a springboard-funded Postgraduate Certificate in Digital Modelling and Energy Retrofit. This is an entirely unique course, unique in Ireland and unique in Europe. It prepares qualified and experienced architects and architectural technologists for the task of retrofitting our current building stock to the highest international standards of energy efficiency, with low levels of greenhouse gas emissions and consequent fuel cost savings for occupants. In designing this course, we have responded to a pressing need to upskill the architectural profession with specific predictive modelling skills necessary to undertake energy retrofit projects in an efficient and safe way. These are projects are notoriously easy to get wrong, especially in our unique climate. Widespread failures are predictable, given the huge change in technology involved in moving from a construction industry derived from a traditional form of masonry construction with little or no energy performance characteristics, to one which is at the top end of the scale of energy performance.

What is the situation in terms of graduates emigrating
Graduates with digital modelling skills are in high demand in the UK at present. The Far East, Middle East and Australia are developed digital modelling markets and such skills are invaluable in securing employment.

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