A 7100m2 building in Navan is transformed into HQ for Meath County Council, supporting a contemporary public interface, with an open, transparent work place, promoting communication and collaboration. A generous public foyer includes information areas and interview spaces, with a timber lantern reflecting light down into this space, forming a focal point. Open-plan departmental work areas on two levels incorporate meeting spaces, team areas, tea-stations, all gathered around a double-height break-out space. Diverse work settings with varying degrees of adaptability, levels of enclosure and acoustic qualities, are crafted with natural materials and careful use of colour, enhancing their tactile quality and legibility. In contrast to the existing building, the fitout is made entirely of natural materials – cedar timber is the primary new structure within which birch and wool panels are fitted by joiners from the locale. The timber structures are built using traditional timber techniques, joined with timber dowels, fabricated with a combination of hand tools and digital fabrication techniques. A large timber ‘lantern’ over the entrance foyer announces the civic role of Meath County Council, and brings natural light into the entry foyer. The lantern rotates in three dimensions, aligned with the geometry of the existing building at the rooflight level, rotating through 15 degrees from top to bottom to start the rotation of the timber ceiling that ripples across the floor plate. The lantern is composed of cedar beams and columns, and is in-filled with birch panels. The birch panels are fixed with dowels only, the precise angle of each panel was adjusted on site with the architects and joiners working together to calibrate the angle of each panel to shape daylight coming into the main entrance hall (see video). The geometry of the fitout is designed around the natural movement of the occupants in contrast to the rigid non-geometry of the existing building. Rotated through 15 degrees, the shaping of movement encourages collaboration and emphasizes the interdisciplinary working that is core to the functioning of a local authority. Rising around the timber lantern and connecting the central atrium platforms are large staircases are constructed from structural timber Kerto beams with Irish chestnut treads and risers. They connect platforms made from douglas fir, cedar, and oak balustrades with walnut handrails. Bespoke sliding screens surround the collaboration spaces, the screens are clad in fabric, magnetic white board, and perforated panels.
Bucholz McEvoy Architects was founded in Dublin, Ireland, in1996 by Karen McEvoy and Merritt Bucholz. Bucholz McEvoy Architects have gained a reputation for high-quality sustainable design in numerous internationally award-winning projects for public and private sector clients. The practice provides architectural services together with urban design, masterplanning, interior design, conservation architecture and landscape design. With an emphasis on enhancing the civic realm of projects, the studio aims to stitch projects into their particular context, whilst integrating landscape into holistic design solutions. High-quality detailing facilitates the incorporation of passive low-energy design into robust environmentally attuned building fabric. With a collaborative approach to multi-disciplinary design processes, we create designs that seamlessly integrate structure, technology, environmental controls and ecology