National Centre for Irish Language Education, Baile Mhúirne
Gross Floor Area
The site was originally part of Coláiste Iosagán on the edge of Ballyvourney. It is surrounded by trees and is spatially like a large outdoor room. The scheme proposes that access is through the existing formal entrance to the overall property, leading to a driveway which follows the line of poplar trees to the parking area. This is located on the northern side of the site, and is contained by a wall of cypress trees and the proposed building.
The centre is a two storey structure. Its northern side is wall-like in appearance, while its southern side is a framed structure with an over sailing roof which embraces a large outdoor veranda. The main seminar room is expressed as a district cubic volume in the configuration. The majority of the spaces to the south are fully glazed to establish a strong visual connection with the beautiful setting.
The building is entered from the car park through a large, double-height glazed screen leading to the foyer/social area, with adjacent reception and administration areas. A multi-purpose heritage/exhibition space adjoins the foyer and is open to the visiting public. The majority of the accommodation is organised linearly along a top-lit atrium to the west - IT room and offices at ground-floor level, and research bases at first-floor level. The main staircase is a freestanding element in the entrance hall, leading to an upper foyer. The main seminar room is located at first-floor level, and has a small recording studio adjoining it. The remainder of this floor comprises a series of meeting rooms/research bases, with the boardroom/library expressed as a particular volume on the northern elevation.
The building is conceived of as a pavilion, and the materials reinforce that primary concept. It is clad in timber panels to create a sense of lightness.