Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council Central Library Headquarters and Cultural Centre Competition Entry

The site is situated to the south west side of Queens Road at Moran Park in Dun Laoghaire and to the north west of Haigh Terrace. Its location provides a connection between the town centre and the sea. The site width varies from 18m at the north end of the site to 35m at South end. The site measures 120m long in a North-South direction. The site consists of a portion of flat ground and a portion of steeply slopped rocky incline running parallel to Haigh Terrace. The site has an easterly aspect and benefits from significant views to the north east over Dun Laoghaire Harbour. The prevailing wind direction is south westerly and the sun path from east to south to west.

The site is steeply slopped with heights ranging from approximately 9.00m OD at the lowest level to the northern end of the site, up to 15.00m OD at the highest level to the southern tip of the site. This gives a range in heights of 6m from north to south on the proposed site.

The given access shall be from Queens Road and Haigh Terrace. The given site does not have a direct relationship to Queens Road, but proposals to cover the existing railway line will address this condition, with opportunity to create a proposed civic square to the west of the new building complex.

Concept

The scheme is designed as a dynamic pair of interlinking free flowing curved volumes, overlooking Dun Laoghaire Harbour, following their context of pond, public place and landscape, which by juxtaposition, creates connection between the town centre and the sea, providing a pedestrian route, from the pier and Queens Road, up the Haigh Terrace and the town centre. The two volumes are linked by bridges at different levels which stimulate visual interest over the pedestrian route. The buildings are fluid and inviting. The pedestrian route between building elements in conjunction with the new formed public space to the west of the buildings, provides a focal point which can be used for public gatherings and outdoor cultural events.

The library building is organized with book storage centrally positioned and perimeter reading zones, situated closer to natural light, arranged with desk seating and soft seating spread throughout. Projecting screens are placed where solar gain issues are to be addressed. A spine wall runs the length of each block, segregating ancillary accommodation and separating more enclosed spaces to the south of the scheme from the general open plan areas. In section the building is stepped, which provides floor plates of varying areas but also provides shading and reduces solar gain.

The cultural centre is arranged around a drum form, which rises through the levels, accommodating the various exhibitions needs of the brief, including the art gallery and double height convertible multi cultural area.