One of Limerick's oldest churches is to be renovated by University of Limerick architecture students. St Munchin's church on King's Island, which was built in 1827, will be transformed as part of a project aimed at bringing the City of Limerick and the University of Limerick together. The renovated church building will be used as a place where city representatives and University faculty and students can meet, it will act as a forum, an exhibition space, a centre for UL's Intelligence Unit urban think-tank, and a teaching venue for the University.
"Limerick Civic Trust have been very generous in giving the School of Architecture at UL (SAUL) permission to transform the church, and the project has been conducted with the interest and support of the city council. The church represents a first step in establishing a place to bring the University and the City together to think through creatively the issues facing Limerick City. The City Council, the University and the community will be able to use the church as a forum to discuss ideas, build knowledge, and celebrate the quality and the future of the City and its constituent communities," said Professor Merrit Bucholz, Head of SAUL.
St Munchin' Church was renovated by Limerick Civic Trust in 1980 and was previously used by the Island Theatre Company who vacated the premises earlier this year. Limerick Civic Trust has a long-term lease on the church and director, Denis Leonard, is delighted UL students will be moving in. "We were exceptionally keen to get architecture students into Limerick city and into the church which really is a beautiful building," he said. "We think it's particularly great for the area and it will help the Regeneration of the City to have such a prestigious section of the University in situ at the church," said Mr Leonard.
The design-build project was organized by Professor Bucholz, and run by David Lewis, Director of Design Build programme at Parsons School of Design in New York. The proposed project and design models were designed, built, and are installed in the church by the 4th year students in SAUL as a part of a larger 4th year design studio theme about public space in the City.