SKIBBEREEN, COUNTY CORK, IRELAND
Celtic symbolism, literary references, Irish folklore, and native traditions are interpreted spatially to create a dynamic 21st-century arts center in West Cork, Ireland. The past, present, and future of a culturally and intellectually rich region inform building design: a proud history, present-day zeitgeist, and promising future. The project also integrates the traditional art forms of the area. Conceived as a field of interconnected strands of activity, the building components intertwine, creating a unified whole.
Skibbereen, County Cork, Ireland
17,000 sq ft
West Cork Arts Center
Buro Happold Engineers
The project is a networked system of connectivity. Pedestrian traffic flow, view orientations, and sensitivity to scale combine to create its form. The dense scheme encloses a central outdoor courtyard. The shimmering building skin is lit from within. Metaphorically, the center serves as a beacon for the arts within the town center. The project has an open plan and wraps a central exterior courtyard. A double-height atrium space serves as the entrance foyer and flows into the gallery and performance hall, all located at the ground level. The artists’ studios with an adjacent outdoor courtyard are a half level below grade. Retail space is located at the entrance to the site. Site conditions are carefully considered. Along Caol Stream, the structure is low and unassuming, rising toward the back of the site. Strategically placed, it accommodates views from the shopping streets. A gesture is made towards Main Street, where the building opens to the north and greets visitors. The façade is transparent at the northern exposure, as glass walls ring the courtyard. Northern light filters through the clerestory window above, washing the gallery and circulation spaces. The gallery protrudes to the north over the stream.