Give Me Shelter

Give Me Shelter
Creating safe, accessible and free spaces for people to shelter under in periods of all-too-common rainfall

Jack Howard
Cork, Ireland
30 year old Irish man who wants to use his brief time on this earth to have fun, make friends and improve the world around me
Team members
Jack Howard
Field of work
Architecture, Design, Urban planning, Multimedia, Film
Project category
Public space
Project submitted

I went back to college at 26 to pursue Interior Architecture and Design. It took me longer than most to figure out a path for myself, but through a lot of hard work, I did. I chose the course as it was the most accessible route to me to spatial design. I had limited interest in decor (although have gained a respect for it), but I wanted to do something that would give me the chance to design spaces and improve my built environment. I’ve seen some truly stunning things in this country, and others through my volunteering work with Workaway. This includes a mountain farm in Spain, an old officer building in Germany and a villa in a crumbling village in Barcelona. I wanted to pursue a path that would let me be a part of making spaces and experiences like these accessible to others, so that I could make our environment that much more special. It was hard to begin studying again at an age later than most, but the skills I gained over the last couple of years have been invaluable to me, and are some of what I believe have given me the confidence and drive to pursue what I want in life, such as this open call. Finding a way to fund my education with no savings taught me perseverance through hardship and problem solving abilities. Applying for, and receiving, various grants taught me the importance of proper documentation and practical thinking. Going from all passes in my first year of college to all distinctions in my third taught me the values of hard-work, organisational skills and task prioritisation. Being one of only two people out of a class of thirty two to pursue the course from level 5 to level 8 showed me that I was able to complete what I started to a high level. My recent receipt of the Culture Moves Europe grant for a project I conceived regarding the study of elements of play in the city of Copenhagen resulting in a subsequent exhibition in Cork taught me that I have the ability to conceptualise and execute creative endeavour's that hold value.

In Ireland, it rains. A lot. And unpredictably. The weather here is like a feral cat. Its mood can change in an instant. One minute, the sun is shining on your shoulders, rubbing up against your shins, telling you 'relax' and 'go find a seat outside and drink a pint as soon as physically possible'. The next, you're outside, the foam of your pint still bubbling from the pour, and the rains claws are cutting into you're body and mind, telling you to 'hide away' and 'go find a seat by a fire and drink a pint as soon as possible'. Despite this, we still haven't found an accessible shelter solution. There's only so many pints you can drink on a Wednesday afternoon. In an overwhelming majority of places, from our rural towns to our big cities, if you're out enjoying your environment and it starts to rain, there's nowhere you can reliably go without having to pay for the privilege of staying dry. People huddle under narrow doorways, hide under cramped awnings, but there's nowhere consciously built for us to go when our collective feral cat goes mean. And, with the issues of our climate crisis, it's only getting meaner and meaner. If we built small shelters, intentional rain awnings, safe spaces from the unpredictability of our weather, we could have much more welcoming cities and encourage people to keep going out and interacting with the built environment. It wouldn't be hard to add areas of shelter to our spaces. They could be designed by local artists, designers and architects. New buildings could be designed with cubbies for wet and the weary in mind - spaces that can be used by anyone, spaces that promote community resilience and togetherness. There are still bus stops that are without shelter for God's sake. It's something that has been long overlooked and is time to address. I want to be able to walk around the environments I love without the fear of needing to spend money on a coffee or a drink every time it starts to rain. Give me safety. Give me shelter.