Dun Laoghaire, Dublin, Ireland – 2007
The Library brief is large and the portion of the existing Park allocated for it is small. To meet the competition brief the building needs to be four storeys above ground level and this closes off historic views to the sea. We propose to save the sea views by exploiting the large changes in level and re-establish a new Park over the Library. A broad ravine-like urban stairway is carved into the new topography creating a grand public descent towards the sea where a natural outdoor event space is formed that connects to the pier.
En route, openings to the Library and Exhibition space appear within the landscaped facades that blossom in the spring and wilt in the winter. The roof of the Library is transformed into an indigenous marshland that attracts birdlife and that people can view along timber boardwalks. From the very tip of the sea defences, a traditional promenade for locals, the golden dome signals the presence and importance of the Reading Room.
The large volume beneath the elliptical dome of golden ETFE is circled by 30 reading rooms per level. These spaces enclose a more private and sociably sized workgroup of about 20 readers each. Circulation between reading rooms is along the galleried edge of the ellipse so movement is obvious and encourages serendipitous contact.
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