Huge interest in Town of Tomorrow competition

Interest in the 2009 Town of Tomorrow competition – which has been extended this year to include a category for students of the GMIT in Castlebar – has been phenomenal, with 49 entries received from budding architects, designers, and planners, and those who simply have wild imaginations.

The 3D design competition, now in its second year, challenges students from Westport’s three secondary schools, along with the architectural technology and construction management students of Mayo’s only third level institution, to remodel — using advanced Google SketchUp software — a section of Westport town in any way they wish.

Sponsored by Westport Town Council, in association with the Mayo News, the competition will be judged this year by Daniela Brica, the European 3D captain for Google Earth, and Craig Powell from Google Earth’s Colorado office. Their commitment to the competition is testament to their high regard for the ground-breaking 3D digital model of Westport, which was commissioned by Westport Town Council in 2007 and launched by Google Earth last year, and which was the inspiration for the schools’ competition.

Westport town manager Peter Hynes expressed his delight with the clear enthusiasm of the students in Rice College, Carrowbeg College, and Sacred Heart Secondary School, and the students from GMIT, and said he expects that enthusiasm to translate into highly-creative completed entries.

“Each team has chosen a section of the town with which to work. Their design brief is purposely rather loose to maximise their use of the model and the software, while enabling them to make maximum use of their imagination. If last year’s entries are anything to go by we are expecting some fabulous new ideas on how our heritage town should be developed over the years to come,” he said.

Mr Hynes also commented on the excellent qualifications of the competition judges. “We are extremely privileged to have secured the services of two such professionals, and trust that our students will give them a hard job picking the winners.”

A total of 27 entries were received last year, with the judges commenting positively on the creativity, technical ability, and application of all teams. A team from Rice College won the overall award for the inaugural competition, for their imaginative redesign of the Shop Street/Octagon/High Street area of the town.

The four areas which are open to re-modelling this year are: Bridge Street/the Mall; the Clock/Shop Street/the Octagon; Tubberhill/the Octagon/James Street, and the Mall/Convent Site.

There will be excellent prizes including i-Pods and web books for each individual school and for the GMIT students, in addition to an overall prize-winning entry to be chosen from the three schools combined, and a separate overall prize for the GMIT.

The closing date for entries for the competition is March 12, with the winners to be announced and presented with their prizes at a special event the following month.


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