Through The Centuries: A history of College’s architecture

Final year student Misha Vaganov released his documentary film on Trinity College Dublin’s 432nd birthday

A final year student has released a documentary on the history and architectural heritage of Trinity to coincide with the 432nd anniversary of its founding.

Trinity College Dublin Through The Centuries was written, directed and produced by mechanical engineering student Misha Vaganov, and was released on March 3.

When asked what drew him to the project, Vaganov said: “This is just the kind of side project that interests me in general and I like living two lives as a mechanical engineer and as a more artistic person”.

In his own words, Vaganov hails from “quite an artistic family”: “I’ve always had an interest in architecture, but then coming to Trinity personally we have, you know yourself, so many buildings and more”.

“Each building itself represents its own unique, historic period,” he continued.

“We have such an old university and 432 years of its standing here and even though the earliest buildings in this triangle didn’t survive, we still have buildings such as the Rubrics which represent the 18th century and the start of the 18th century”.

Vaganov said that Trinity’s campus contains buildings which can “teach you a lot about the story period”.

Vaganov also cited both the accumulation of loss and love as inspiration for embarking on this project: “At the start of last summer, I lost the most important person I had in my life. The loss which I did not know how to cope with. This in majority has led me to film this documentary.”

He continued saying: “I wanted to create something which is filled with love. Every shot in the film, every music note written, is filled with that love. I hope that while watching this documentary, people could sense those true emotions. This documentary became the culmination of my journey with Trinity. A journey which has shaped me into the person I am today”.

The documentary uses architecture as a window into the College’s past, reflecting Vaganov’s belief in the importance of architecture in relaying historical events.

“You can learn about Dublin through looking at, for example, statues beside the GPO and having a look at the bullets, the bullet holes in those statues just as you walk to O’Connell Bridge,” he said.

“Then when you walk into Trinity, it’s not just one period, it’s five centuries of Dublin’s history.”

He set out to show both College and its buildings “through the centuries” by talking about each building and its respective history: “For example, the Rubrics. I’ve tried to not only talk about when it was built, for example, because even though that’s what’s important, but to talk about what events happened during that period”.

Vaganov said that a significant challenge of the production was having to get permission to film in campus locations.

“Every single caretaker for every single building was of enormous help”, Vaganov said. “Without them. I don’t think it would have happened.”

Vaganov notes the most difficult aspect of the filming process was attempting to get permission to fly his drone in order to capture details of campus’ buildings: “I really wanted to fly my drone and I really wanted to fly over buildings”.

“They wanted me to create fly maps [but] just didn’t have time just because I really wanted to get it done before students are back on campus”.

As a final year student, Vaganov said :“I didn’t have too much time to edit everything. I used to just edit everything late in the evenings and at night.”

Vaganov also scored the film’s music himself saying “I have a small, small keyboard”.

Vaganov told Trinity News that his favourite discovery from his research was that the Old Library “didn’t look like that when it was initially built”.

Vaganov also noted how “the Museum Building has so much to talk about….that building could have a documentary itself about it”.

When asked by Trinity News if he had plans to make further film documentaries Vaganov said he has “definitely thought about it” but is unsure on what area.

“I’m just not sure where I’m gonna find myself after finishing college and in Trinity”, he said.

“I thought so many things came together at the right time and the right place just because I’m a student here”.

Vaganov’s documentary film Trinity College Dublin – Through The Centuries can be watched here.

Aoibhinn Clancy

Aoibhínn Clancy is the Deputy News Editor of Trinity News and is currently in her Junior Sophister Year studying History and Political Science.