Tullamore Art Centre

Tullamore, Ireland


The Tullamore Community Arts Centre is a critical project for the Offaly County and the country of Ireland as it integrates itself into the Town of Tullamore. The site location presents a complex set of conditions given the proximity to the canal, Kilbride Park and at the northwest fringe of the Tullamore Town Centre. The project programme is an exciting one given the uniqueness of a contemporary cultural arts centre within the region. The project focuses on two primary objectives. Firstly, it is imperative that the project itself becomes a connector within the urban and natural landscapes to bring cohesiveness and integration to the edge condition of the canal, residential zones, natural habitats, and town centre. Of equal importance is the creation of a landmark that truly represents the cultural arts in a way that is sensitive to the heritage of the region and community.

The organizational philosophy of the floor plan is a direct result of the conditions that informed the overall site plan. The three primary site assets (canal, park and city) command a front presence to be associated with each. Primary public pedestrian circulation within the floor plan opens up with views out to each of these distinctive site locations, and the opportunity exists through rotating panels to create access to each of these locations as well. This C shaped circulation creates an internal core of program that allows public access on the exterior and back of house service access on the interior. The interior core of private circulation provides an acoustic buffer and service access to the theatre space that is ensconced within it. Finally, the east side of the site is utilized as a back of house location for deliveries, designated staff and performers parking, and access to service areas of the Warehouse and OHAS.

Site and building morphology are a clear derivative of the functional relationships performed between programme and site. The building form is anchored by the simplistic volume of the performance hall, the primary generator of axis termination for the park space to the west and city urban space created to the south. As ancillary spaces are layered around the lofty box, the primary circulation volume is enclosed with a two story curtain wall around it. The perimeter envelope provides views to the exterior and natural daylighting to the interior spaces, but is also characterized with a sublime quality of depth through a unique frit pattern applied to the outer layer of curtain wall for solar shading. The frit pattern is layered with degrees of opacity that subtly reveal a folded cloth pattern resembling the very curtain quality that it performs. The fritting creates both a diaphanous quality of light on the interior and readable depth of surface on the exterior which becomes increasingly discernable as distance increases.