In this special Christmas edition of Room to Improve, architect Dermot Bannon was commissioned by National Children's Hospital, Tallaght to rescue a forlorn and rundown balcony space on the first floor and create an outdoor garden and recreation area for children and their families.
One of the areas that the National Children's Hospital specialises in is caring for children with cystic fibrosis; some of these children may have to spend lengthy periods of time in hospital.
The existing facilities for play and therapeutic exercise was limited to the interior of the hospital and there was no place for parents to relax or spend time with their kids in the fresh air.
Sure, it’s a goodwill project, but that didn’t make things any easier for the designer or the specialist crew he enlisted with the help of Carole Smillie from Bennett Construction.
With a miniscule budget of just €60,000 and a complex project which, under normal circumstances would cost upward of €250,000, Dermot had to use every contact in his address book and every favour he and Carole could wheedle from suppliers, manufacturers.
With tonnes of concrete and timber installed, the first challenge for the crew was to find some way of accessing the balcony without contaminating the hospital wards. And that was just for starters.
With strict health and safety protocols and even stricter fire regulations to contend with, the budget, the schedule and the patience of the crew was under severe pressure from the get-go.
The show featured on RTE on 27th December.