The Samuel Beckett Civic Campus is an 18-acre civic sports campus comprised of a Library & Community Building including Creche, Multi-Purpose Sports Building including Sports Hall, Dance Studio and Gym grass Sports Pitches, Multi-Use Games Pitches, Skate area, Children’s’ Playground, orientated around a new landscaped Civic Plaza which will accommodate outdoor events, and embraced by a new public park.
The design of the Civic Campus brings an urban order of architecture within the sub-urban domain, creating a new civic place in landscape, offering possibilities for new uses, new ways of occupying and appreciating the setting at the foothills of Dublin Mountains, in a shared active landscape. A linear park encircles the sports pitches, play and skate areas with a continuous recreational pathway, passing a landscaped rainwater attenuation pond and linking back to the main civic plaza.
Community participation was facilitated during the design process by a series of workshops with members of the local community. In these workshops physical models of various scales were used to communicate ideas and stimulate a participatory design process. All buildings and facilities are universally accessible to public of all ages and abilities - pedestrian access for within the site is prioritized, both from the locality and from the adjacent tramline.
Buildings within the campus master plan are strategically placed to enhance permeability and connectivity by addressing and engaging with existing and future movement patterns across the site. Transparency between the buildings' various spaces, and between the interior & exterior spatially blends the diverse activities, whilst promoting an engaging connection with its landscape setting. Views from the spaces within and between the buildings express the community’s relationship with the surrounding landscape, enhancing the sense of a place within what is a very open environment.
Wood has a primary role in achieving both the civic quality of the building, and its inherent user-friendliness and flexibility. Wood is the primary building material, endowing a human scale, proportion, quality and longevity. Carefully detailed timber is used for facades and upper structure, simultaneously acting as internal finish, imbuing spaces with warmth, colour, aroma of wood. The primary building structure is hybrid system of concrete to 1st floor, with timber beams & columns and pre-cast concrete slabs to complete the construction. The timber structural members and facade, the breathing skin of building, are made from combination of larch, cedar, iroko, and birch, each wood used in locations appropriate to its respective material characteristics.
The wood and concrete structure is clearly articulated and is the primary finish inside the building. Larch columns support spruce beams that support pre-cast concrete hollow-core slabs. The roof is punctuated by continuous roof-lights made from cross laminated timber panels used for horizontal and vertical support. The structure including all junctions of concrete and timber are exposed to create a legible structure.
The facade, the breathing skin of the building, is made from 1.2 m wide panels of heights between 3.5m and 7m. Each panel is composed of glu-laminated large beams that carry panels made of Iroko with fixed or opening vents, fixed glazing, and clad in cedar shingles. The façade establishes the civic scale of the campus, while providing daylight and natural ventilation to all buildings that compose the campus. The basic façade unit is adapted to a library use, a community centre use, a sports building use, and a swimming pool use. In each case the primary role of the façade is to supply natural light and natural ventilation to the internal spaces and cater for the diverse functional and environmental requirements of each building and each space within the buildings.
Environmental Strategy: The building uses passive design to reduce energy demand; orientation has been optimised to benefit from passive solar gain (to reduce energy load) and wind direction (to enhance natural ventilation). The building volume is permeable with large openings between spaces to allow for the flow of air. Natural cross-ventilation of internal spaces is provided through the facade design which is geometrically and aesthetically harmonised while it ventilates a wide variety of spaces such as dance halls, gyms, libraries, day-care-centres, community rooms, offices, changing rooms, etc. The harmonising of the facade design and the environmental strategy was carefully studied in order to establish a civic scale and proportion to the campus. The facade incorporates a variety of ventilation openings at the bottom and mid-sections of the facade employing solid opening panels that introduce fresh air at low level at the perimeter of the building and extract it at high level through the roof lights. The fixed glazing sections are angled to towards the sky and the ground alternately to enhance the level of shading and transparency of the facade. The floor to ceiling dimensions have been stretched to 3.3m at ground floor and from 4.5 to 6m at 1st floor enhancing air movement and increasing daylight penetration. Concrete has been used for high thermal mass; the 1st floor slab is in-situ concrete and the roof slab is precast concrete units supported by spruce timber beams and columns. The energy requirements of the project are met in a shared Energy Centre with a combination of a CHP unit, a biomass boiler and high-efficiency gas condensing boiler resulting in over 50% of the annual energy associated with heating and hot water being provided by renewable resources, a strategy achieving reduced running costs & carbon emissions.
Bucholz McEvoy Architects (founded 1996 by Karen McEvoy and Merritt Bucholz) have gained a reputation for high-quality sustainable design in numerous projects for public sector clients. Creating healthy living and working environments across a number of building typologies, we apply a person-centred approach to design from concept stage through to detailed design. With an emphasis on enhancing the social realm of projects, we aim to stitch projects into their particular contexts, integrating the civic realm and landscape into holistic project solutions. High-quality detailing facilitates the incorporation of passive design and low-energy goals into robust environmentally attuned building fabric. With a collaborative approach to an integrated design process, we aim to create design solutions that seamlessly incorporate structure, technology, environmental controls, ecology and infrastructure through a collaborative design process, incorporating research into building projects.
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