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Reimagine Loughrea, Through Thinning Landscapes

Reimagine Loughrea, Through Thinning Landscapes

Reimagine Loughrea was all about considering the value of the green heart of a town, in a time of biodiversity crisis.

    The Walks is a crucible walkway in Loughrea, County Galway which serves as a public amenity as well as a pedestrian route running parallel to the main street. It has national monuments status, with considerable work done in recent years to restore the bridges over the moate, the only one of its kind in Ireland, and to reinstate the historic walls. We were invited by The Walks Steering Group in Loughrea to help build community engagement and ownership over this important space in the town.

    We spent a number of months doing community local research, ranging from movement surveys, community workshops to consultations at local events. A design workshop was run with local secondary school students, and a youth-focused workshop was set up on-site in The Walks as part of the Architecture At The Edge festival.

    After channeling our research into an open call brief, the architectural research collective BothAnd Group was selected as the winning bid to undertake this project.

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    From 18th of September to 10th of October 2020, The Walks in Loughrea, Galway, became the location of a unique site-specific installation ‘Through Thinning Landscapes’.  Walking through a tunnel of green, at the end you would arrive at your grass-framed reflection in a looming mirror. Hemmed in between sloping banks of intense green lawn, the reflection trimmed out the overhanging trees, cutting you off from the diversity of surrounding nature, providing a space for contemplation. What is the link between our impossible expectations of tidy green spaces, made of grass monocultures, and the critical loss of biodiversity we are now facing?

    This project aimed to create an awareness-shifting experience for the individual: to provide a mandate for empathy with all stakeholders, including plants and animals, with whom we share our environment. Through experiencing the installation, the architects wished to draw attention to the loss of the richness of life in the Irish landscape, and to inspire people to take action to resolve urgent biospherical issues.

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    This architectural installation formed the backdrop to a series of community engagement activities, including a community talk with biologist Éanna Ní Lamhna and a podcast with ecologist Pádraic Fogarty,  geared towards increasing awareness of the biodiversity crisis and supporting the idea of a Pollinator Plan for the locality.

    With a focus on the circular economy, the architects made the installation materials available to local partners such as Loughrea Mens Shed, to facilitate a ‘pollinator route’ in the town.

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    Local Partners
    Galway 2020
    www.galway2020.ie
    Galway County Council
    www.galway.ie
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    Reimagine Loughrea, Through Thinning Landscapes
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