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Tullamore Community Arts Centre Architectural Design Competition

Tullamore Community Arts Centre

Winner – A2 Architects, Dublin www.a2.ie

The RIAI is administered this open, two-stage competition for the architectural design of Tullamore Community Arts Centre for the competition promoters, Offaly County Council.

Citation: This scheme is permeable, responsive and flexible. Designed with one level, the plan initially appears straightforward with each of the key programme elements enclosed in individual boxes, discreet and perfectible. The circulation is subtle, roof-lit and flowing, allowing for a variety of additional uses while remaining flexible and interactive with the main programme spaces. The building deploys a key use to each façade – café and gallery to the canal, theatre-stage to the park, arts rooms to the street to the east and offices/main entrance to the south and the town beyond. The square contained shape is modest. Engaging actively with its context and with an elegant proportion, it achieves civic status. The built language is restrained but both permeable and comprehendible. The mix of limestone and ‘Corten’ panels achieves civic quality while remaining empathetic to the texture of the nearby barges and declining structures dating from the town’s industrial heritage.

About Tullamore Community Arts Centre

The vision and intention of developing a multidisciplinary community arts centre in the heart of Tullamore, stems from a much documented need to converge and focus the creative potential of Tullamore; its artists, its young people and the wider community. The activity at the centre will harness and be a catalyst for this creative potential by providing opportunities for participation in the arts as well as presenting a dynamic programme of local, regional, national and international arts events.

The Tullamore Community Arts Centre is intended to be a distinctive municipal building of contemporary architecture with good use of natural materials and light, environmentally sound in its build and daily use. The building will need to accommodate a number of creative and overlapping uses and the internal spaces need to be designed to be flexible in accommodating these.

The designers responded fully to the suggestions of the jury after Stage 1. The structure, materials and building services strategy were brought forward successfully and integrated into the developed sketch design. The clarity of approach and specific response to each of the brief’s elements reassured the jury that the project was deliverable and cost control achievable through the upcoming stages.

This project best understood the demands of the brief and the site, finding a balance of ambition and decorum in its architectural language.