Open Doors

Open Doors to the Future

Engaging teenagers in subjects like townscape and heritage sounds like a bit of a turn-off.  Well, for the teenagers, at any rate.  So an invitation from St Joseph’s College, in Derry’s Creggan Estate, to collaborate with its Geography and Art teachers and their Year 10 classes, on an entry for the 2012 Northern Ireland Environment Agency’s ‘Open Doors to the Future’ competition, was a welcome opportunity to help a class of fourteen year-old boys develop a conservation plan for an old building near their school.

Former Rosemount Shirt Factory, Derry

Former Rosemount Shirt Factory, Derry

Focusing on the listed, almost vacant former Rosemount Shirt Factory nearby, we devised and delivered a series of three interactive workshops engaging the boys in the same process undertaken by an architect preparing a conservation plan.   All kinds of innovative, entrepreneurial thinking to give this building sustainable new uses emerged.  This included:

  • Converting the old Rosemount Shirt Factory into the ‘Mountrose Hotel’ for Derry~Londonderry’s UK City of Culture 2013
  • Turning its flat roof into a swimming pool and putting a glass dome on top
  • Using the top floor as penthouse apartments.
  • Paying guests were to include celebrities such as Rhianna, Beyoncé and Paris Hilton!

The boys’ creative entry achieved first prize in its age category and they received their prize from Minister Alex Attwood, DoE (NI).