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Luan Gallery by Keith Williams Architects Opens in Athlone

Published: Monday, December 03, 2012

Luan, Athlone’s elegant new art gallery, and the first purpose-built, modern visual art gallery located in the midlands, was formally opened by Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht on 29 November. Designed by Keith Williams Architects to a budget of €3.4million, the new 575 m2 art space incorporates the 1897 Father Mathew Hall and a purpose-designed river gallery, overlooking the Shannon. Having followed the project closely, the people of Athlone came out in force for the formal opening and congratulated the architect. Minister Deenihan said that Keith Williams Architects had “created something very special by creatively including the River Shannon in the design”. Enveloped in limestone, the gallery ‘floats’ on a plinth to give spectacular open views of the Shannon.  The gallery forms part of an important urban ensemble, which includes the Church of St. Peter and St. Paul, the town’s historic bridge and the recently refurbished Athlone Castle, a project by architect John Keoghan.

The Luan Gallery is the third project by Keith Williams Architects in Athlone, having earlier completed the Civic Offices & Library and the Army Memorial. Speaking at the formal opening, Williams said he was ”privileged” to have worked here in Athlone for the past 12 years as well as on the new Library in Clones, Co Monaghan and, with the OPW, on the Wexford Opera House. “All this has enabled me to become embedded in the Irish architectural scene of recent years. I will not pretend that this has made me a good Irishman or indeed any kind of Irishman. But it may have made me a little more enlightened helping me to engage with the very strong cultural bonds between our two countries, whilst celebrating our distinct characters and identities”.

Miriam Mulrennan, Manager of Athlone Art and Heritage Ltd, said that Luan Gallery has been established “to promote a dynamic contemporary visual art programme of both established and emerging artists”. The gallery has developed strong links with Dublin’s IMMA enabling it to bring major contemporary art to the regions. The opening exhibition – Borrowed Memories – includes major IMMA artists Daphne Wright, Amelia Stein, Hannah Starkey, Ann Hamilton, Patrick Graham and Amanda Coogan. A large and luminous painting, Blue Crucifixion by Hughie O’Donoghue occupies the white box gallery, while Shane Cullen’s compelling Fragments sur les Institutions Republicaines IV addresses the River Gallery.

Keith Williams Architects

Luan Gallery

 

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