The context is a former industrial school at the edge of Letterfrack village. The project is a development strategy for the site, including new buildings and the refurbishment of the former industrial school to accommodate a furniture college, workshops, radio station and administration for a wide range of community-let projects. The client is Connemara West, a community-owned development organisation in a disadvantaged area in County Galway.
Area: New 2,650 sqm
Existing 1,365 sqm
Construction: phase one 2001
It was important that the campus should have a contemporary, forward-looking identity, that the new use and new architecture would combine to transform the obsolete nineteenth-century institutional building into an open educational resource for the 21st century.
The symmetry has been shifted and the axis of approach is changed into a curved line in the landscape. A new entry forecourt opens up the closed form of the courtyard plan like a folded-out chair of different forms. The structural systems of the different buildings have been designed in response to their contrasting functional requirements and their place in the sequence of the construction programme.
The external materials of the buildings relate to the colours and textures of the landscape: Irish green oak, terned stainless steel, concrete and sand-pigmented render are designed to weather naturally and to register the passage of time.