Arts Thread

Joseph Heffernan
Architecture MA

Royal College of Art

Graduates: 2022

Specialisms: Architecture / Drawing / Fine Art

My location: London, United Kingdom

joseph-heffernan ArtsThread Profile
Royal College of Art

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Joseph Heffernan

joseph-heffernan ArtsThread Profile

First Name: Joseph

Last Name: Heffernan

University / College: Royal College of Art

Course / Program: Architecture MA

Graduates: 2022

Specialisms: Architecture / Drawing / Fine Art

My Location: London, United Kingdom

About:

Joseph Heffernan graduated from the Royal College of Art in 2022, after graduating from Oxford Brookes University and working as an Architectural Assistant at Karakusevic Carson Architects. Joseph's practice is explored through drawing as a medium that investigates space and peoples relationship to it. Last year, Joseph was in ADS 0, exploring the possibilities of co-living self builds within an office tower environment. The project re-imagined Permitted Development laws that allow developers to profit from transforming unappreciated office space into housing while skimming over planning permission, allowing for inadequate living conditions to be thrust upon people with little option but to inhabit. The project was explained through a series of drawings narrating the process of transforming an office space into a self build commune for young people, providing construction skills and precious autonomy in London. The project was nominated for the RIBA London West Student award. In his thesis project at the RCA, Joseph has explored the exhaustion of turf in rural Ireland, focusing on the hyper industrialised land and the productivity of a vital eco-system. Joseph won the Spatial Justice Prize for his thesis project.

Useless Terrain

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Useless terrain propagates a holistic restoration project upon the Ballynagrenia and Ballinderry Bog in County Westmeath, designing a walkway that determines a 10,000 year journey around the bog, as it ever so slowly repairs itself from violent colonial and industrial scarring. The project is told through a conceptual drawing practice that waits, watches and records the return of this vital ecosystem. The consistent drawing process navigates the unrelenting passing of time and the steady moving and breathing of the bog, while encompassing a 10 km boardwalk that determines a new relationship and ritual the people have with the terrain. Exploring how the terrain has been determined “useless” has been the core of my reading of the bog, as the hyper industrialisation of the land for fuel, presented a “use” for the land, its properties that had been ignored by so explicitly by the British jurisdiction, who only campaigned for the land to be converted into arable farm pasture. The reactionary industrialisation meant Ireland could be self sufficient, no longer reliant on British coal. Every hectare of drained peatland emits 2 tonnes of carbon per annum. It is estimated 100,000 households in Ireland still use turf for heating. Cutting turf for fuel has been practiced for centuries, communities established a strong cultural identity through turf cutting. The project proposes a new form of cultural tradition, one that provides communal care for the local ecosystem.