Irish Language Cultural Centre

Northern Ireland

The brief for Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin included performance and educational facilities, public and administrative services, for a contemporary Cultural Centre for Irish Language, Arts and Culture on a sensitive site in the historic centre of Derry.

Area: 2,000 sqm
Completion: 2009

The landlocked site is contained on three sides with one narrow end facing the street. The architectural strategy is to create a glass roofed courtyard at the centre of the scheme and to draw the public realm through an archway in the street frontage with the minimum sense of barrier between footpath and courtyard.

A continuous terrazzo floor connects the footpath to the building interior. The scheme starts from the central court, which is thought of as an outside room locked within the form. A board marked concrete trapezoidal courtyard is carved through the four floors of the building. Stairs, bridges and platforms cross and overlook the skylit volume, providing legible access to classrooms, offices, social and performance spaces.

The street front is modelled as a three dimensional composition in concrete and glass to give emphasis to the complexity and cultural content of the building. The building has been carefully designed to be sympathetically integrated with its urban conservation context and to be clearly legible as a significant cultural building within the architectural landmarks of the city.

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