The military archives and storage block are set within the context of the 19th century military barracks close to Dublin City Centre. The buildings form key edges to an existing fabric of the barrack streets and ceremonial parade grounds. A new extension has been added to both buildings, transforming them into new uses while also allowing them to sit into this existing context. The shapes and angles of each block reflect a play with one another like a series of chess moves.
The Military Archives is a new purpose built climate controlled space that stores 67,000 archive storage boxes. The existing building is one half of an old stone and brick hospital block dating from the early years of the barracks. This internal plan has been turned on its end and a new entrance opened in the gable leading to a new public library and reading room lined out in timber. The rest is made up of offices and a Conservation laboratory. The new extension building matches the old in some of its character, extending the architecture of gables, but is made of brick. A new dramatic folded courtyard is created between old and new.
The new two storey storage building aligns with archive building on plan and is finished in a matching brick skin. The existing building is carefully restored and sensitively adjusted to enable new links between the existing rooms and the new building using new access links and stairs inserted into the existing building. This has an innovative and striking roof-scape delineated with projecting roof lights that resonate with the rhythm of the architecture of the existing buildings in the barracks.
The two new interventions provide all of the required modern infrastructure that the existing buildings require to function for the 21st century. They also do so while minimise the disruption the existing fabric and room layouts.
Conservation techniques are used throughout when applying materials and finishes to preserve the quality of the existing robust buildings that have served the military well over the past the 100 years. The new buildings are constructed with simple materials (brick and concrete) with exposed finishes and services which make them very functional and easy to maintain in a similar way to the other utilitarian buildings within the barracks. The buildings ordinary nature is elevated by their simple detailing, elegant proportioned new rooms and generous daylighting throughout.
Storage Building: 1500m2
Date: Completed 2018
McCullough Mulvin Architects are a Dublin based practice working in Ireland, India and Europe. Their work is wide-ranging and includes both new build and conservation work in the fields of educational, cultural, health and housing projects.
Collaborative, experimental and open, McCullough Mulvin Architects are unique in combining Grade 1 Conservation skills with cutting edge contemporary design - making innovative projects that fully integrate old buildings and new architecture. Their work is sustainable in nature and at the forefront of 21st century debate.
The practice has been acclaimed in mainland Europe and Asia through projects and awards including shortlisting for the Mies van der Rohe EU Prize for Contemporary Architecture 2019, World Architecture Festival 2018 and Domus Restauro Award Italy 2018.