How to create a new urban enclave for the town of Tullamore? What should a project be seeking in order to become a public milestone that is providing new resources for the community and also that is renewing its urban context?
Rather than an isolated building, we are proposing a holistic urban experience that holds water, greenery and city life together. The building is designed as an orchestration of spatial ambiences linked together under a big tent-like structure, from the warm light ochre-like wooden auditorium that directly looks over the park to the festive shiny golden-like appearance of the external metallic envelope.
The building shapes an urban space in order to collect different pedestrian flows, giving a new sense to the site, seamlessly introducing them in the building.
The Art Centre is also a door towards Kilbride Park. Its position, parallel to O Connell Street, opens up in a dynamic way two connections, North and South, to it. Like a huge festive tent in the middle of a fresh green lawn, the central space of the building, the auditorium, opens towards the park. Likewise, Kilbride Park is introduced in the auditorium.
The façade looking Kilbride Park is shaped like a shell, reminiscent of the old open air stage auditoriums, optimizing stage performance when opened. When whether permits it, one can imagine foldable deckchairs scattered around the auditorium lane, facing the open scenario covered with a wide arched space. Standing on the park, among the trees foliage, this arched concentric shape will nicely integrate the building in the park. The park is redesigned in order to conceal a big green lawn that is slightly sloped and that can be easily used as open air theatre facing the auditorium stage. The auditorium lawn is limited on two sides by the big tree row that lines along the canal, and a small hill at south that serves as a buffer or protection towards the neighboring dwellings.
A new pond recalls the former existence on this spot of a natural water basin as shown by the historic local maps.
The Arts Center will be seen from the Grand Canal walkways and the surroundings as a tent-like roofed structure, a recognizable stripped pattern shining behind the dense tree line. The same way the metal skin reflects and dyes daylight in a warm golden shade, the interior of the auditorium is cladded with timber to diffuse the sound.