Irish Architecture for St. Patrick’s Day

Céad Míle Fáilte!

For those of you who don’t know already – the Irish are all ninjas, and all ninjas are a little bit Irish. Therefore on this greatest of all holidays we celebrate some of the siick work from the Republic – because not all Irish buildings are medieval castles, dolmens, and thatch roofed houses.

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First up is the competition winning design for a new County Wexford Council Headquarters, designed by the Scottish firm NORD.

A generous urban scale forecourt, a terraced civic garden, forms the transition between the street and the main entrance to the new building. Areas of soft landscaping are dedicated to a rich variety of plants indigenous to the Wexford area, while hard surfaces are formed from smooth cut slabs of stone derived from local sources. The landscape is further punctuated by shallow pools of water.

The design of the internal environment makes reference to the existing patterns of townscape: public spaces within the building are treated as streets, courtyards, gardens and squares [more from archiseek] .

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Next we have a possible design by Foster + Partners for redevelopment of the Calrence Hotel in Dublin.

Foster + Partners are due to submit proposals to Dublin City Council for a dramatic redevelopment and expansion of the Clarence Hotel. Combining the restoration of the existing quayside facade as well as the sensitive insertion of new additions, the hotel will be a bold new landmark for the city.

At the heart of the project is a sculptural “sky catcher” which embraces the main public spaces and pulls daylight deep into the base of the hotel. It emerges at roof level and incorporates a ‘skyroom’ and viewing terrace, uniting and complementing the existing buildings [article from archiseek].

Foster + Partners are also currently working on a masterplan for Greystones New Quarter in Greystones, Ireland.

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Under construction now in Cork, this office tower on Eglinton Street, designed by Frank O’Mahony Architects, will be the tallest building in Southern Ireland, at 70 meters tall [80 with the spire].

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Lastly, my favorite of the projects featured – the new visitor center at the Cliffs of Moher in County Clare [which you should all try to visit, by the way] – designed by Reddy O’Riordan Staehli Architects [RORSA].

An interpretive centre without controversy is a like an Irish summer without rain. At the Cliffs of Moher, it took fifteen years and €31m for Clare County Council to get the project from design to grand opening.

There are eight kilometres of cliffs, but every year, in excess of 900,000 people choose to visit one 200m stretch. The dangerous mess that this situation engendered has been replaced with 500m of widened walkways, viewing platforms and low impact safety measures. The visitor centre itself is a non-building. The tumbledown stone buildings were pulled down, the hill against which they had sheltered taken out, a visitor centre inserted and the hill replaced. Bearing in mind that regardless of what is erected, almost a million people will turn up here every year, it is difficult to conceive of a more low-impact means of containing them. Moreover, the site boasts a range of energy saving innovations. Solar panels take care of most of the hot water needs. A geothermal system looks after both heating and cooling. An onsite wastewater treatment plant facilitates large-scale grey water recycling while a high-spec building management system allows energy requirements to be closely monitored and managed [article from Construct Ireland - read more].

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So happy St. Patrick’s Day, and Happy Irish American Heritage Month…act like you know, my ninjas.

Sláinte!

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