True foundations of Minister's architecture degree

Peas and Qs: Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn. photograph: alan betson

Peas and Qs: Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn. photograph: alan betson

Sat, Feb 23, 2013, 00:00

THE SOCIAL NETWORK:Minister for Education and Skills Ruairí Quinn launched Traces of Peter Rice, a biography of the distinguished Dundalk-born structural engineer Peter Rice, who died in 1992. Rice defined the structural elements of significant buildings such as Sydney Opera House, the Pompidou Centre, Lloyd’s of London and the Pyramide Inversée of the Louvre.

The Minister had a confession. “I’m a graduate of UCD for the following reason: I was away in Spain and got home late, and there was no such thing as points in those days. I was late in applying for UCD, and I went to Bolton Street . . .

“Six weeks into [the term] I got a message to the effect that a person had left the school of architecture in UCD and there was now a place.”

He applied and got in. Two years later, on a production line in a pea factory in Malta, he met the man who had left the school of architecture, to study engineering instead. “He told me that in architecture there is no right answer,” said Quinn.

Who we spottedPeter Rice’s widow and daughter, Sylvia and Heidi Rice; Mary Heffernan of the OPW; Sheila Pratschke, the director of the Centre Culturel Irlandais, in Paris; the architect Sean O’Laoire.