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An Irish view

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On this page and overleaf, a number of Irish architects describe their work in order to provide a snapshot of the diversity of contemporary architecture in Ireland

THE FOUR SIDED HOUSE, MILFORD, COUNTY CARLOW FEWER MCGINLEY ASSOCIATES The site and brief inspired a symmetrical form exploiting the multiple vistas, with central rotunda, axial vestibules and loggias on all sides. The 8m octagon generated a relaxed series of served and servant spaces on each level. A semibasement for parking, storage and services forms a raised piano nobile. The south side of the 899m 2house has a glazed loggia with external uplighting on the loggia soffits and trees. Although architect and clients had visited Vicenza, it was agreed that the gloom of Villa Capra would not be repeated and the approach would be 'Classical in form but not in detail' (less Palladio, more Scamozzi).

Structural engineer Malone O'Regan; landscape consultant Mitchell Associates; main contractor Robert Quinn & Son

DE BLACAM AND MEAGHER ARCHITECTS The triangular site is bounded by a railway and Grand Canal Quay.This IR£2 million building for Esat Telecommunications comprises seven office levels (totalling 7,550m 2) and two underground parking levels (3,500m 2) organised in a T-plan with vertical circulation and core areas at the junction of the T. An atrium encloses the space between these blocks to the south facade, providing a bright focal space and permitting light to permeate deep into the office plan.

The front facade is a frameless clear glass wall supported on bespoke spider fixings and windposts with automated external awnings providing control of solar gain.

Structural engineer Fearon O'Neill Rooney; services engineerMacArdle McSweeney Associates; landscape consultant Mitchell Associates; quantity surveyor Bruce Shaw Partnership; main contractor Pierse Contracting

MCCLAY RESEARCH CENTRE FOR PHARMACEUTICAL SCIENCES TODD ARCHITECTS The Queen's University of Belfast School of Pharmacy site is enclosed by buildings on three sides. To meet the client's aspiration for natural light, a top-lit vertical street separates laboratory space from ancillary/support areas and brings light into the deep plan laboratories through full-height frameless glazed screens.

The cost of curtain walling to laboratories and entrance staircases was offset through the use of 'industrial'cladding and masonry wall panels elsewhere. The £2.4 million building was completed in September 2001.

Structural engineer Dr I G Doran & Partners; quantity surveyor Hood Mcgowan Kirk; services engineerWilliams & Shaw; main contractor H& J Martin

FAMILY HOUSE, MOIRA, COUNTY DOWN JAMES ROONEY 'In designing this rural home I was determined not to allow the obvious use of white rendered walls and slate-coloured roof to dictate the style. Inspired by a visit to Glasgow's 'Homes for the Future' I opted for stack bonded brickwork adjacent to the entrance hall and inserted glass block screens for light and added interest. The tall brick chimney stacks at the gables and two-storey corner windows give a sense of verticality to the external composition.Glazed ridge lights allow natural light to penetrate the inner core. Top lighting in the hallway accentuates the feature stairway and adds drama to the experience of entering the house. The house was built for £173,600 and the contract ran from June 2000 to January 2001.'

EXTENSION TO A BUNGALOW, MAGHERAFELT, DERRY TWENTY TWO OVER SEVEN The £90,000 project adds a 55m 2kitchen to a 90m 2sterotypical rural bungalow near the shores of Lough Neagh. The tall single-storey kitchen is square in plan, on a 3 x 3m grid with an overhanging flat roof. This sits on a shallow granite plinth, which extends beyond the glazing to match the roof dimensions. The extension is both separated from and connected to the pre-existing dwelling by a wide corridor, providing access, circulation, and enlarged living spaces. Timberframed glazed sliding screens articulate the open-plan living spaces within the original dwelling, with rooms now flooded with natural light, and enable long views through the kitchen and living spaces. The project took six months (including fit-out).

Structural engineer Armstrong & Shaw; main contractor Setanta Construction

TONY MCDONNELL'S, DUNDALK, COUNTY LOUTH VAN DIJK ARCHITECTS An elegant facade of plaster, stone and stainless steel with wide, sky blue canopies over two large display windows invites passers-by to look in. The shining surfaces, sparkling lights and blond wood interior form several definite but inter-linked episodes, which reflect the retail areas and give a sense of space within this relatively small unit. Each episode is defined by its floor finish, its level and by the type of lighting used. The 200m 2shop is linked together by cherry veneered fittings, which are used throughout.A cool polished porcelain floor defines the main space, while an adjoining area has a lower ceiling and warm timber floor. The IR£230,000 project was completed in 12 weeks.

TODD ARCHITECTS This £11.5 million extension to the existing Mater Hospital, due for completion in December, features a day procedures unit, pharmacy, mortuary and outpatients department all wrapped around a central landscaped courtyard and atrium.The building rationalises circulation within the hospital.

Accommodation is linked on all three levels by a glazed hospital street which runs between the courtyard and the three-storey atrium, linking old and new. Materials complement the 19th-century building: terracotta tile rainscreen cladding; laminate board; curtain walling and cedar cladding.

Structural engineer Dr I G Doran & Partners; services engineer Seymour & Rooley and Babtie Group; quantity surveyor Cyril Sweett & Partners; landscape architect David Clarke; hospital plannerWatkins Gray International

GILROY MCMAHON ARCHITECTS This competition entry for an 80,000-seat national stadium is concerned with reducing the impact of a large footprint on a delicate stratum. Strategies used were: manipulation of topography; minimisation of waste; careful massing and siting of infrastructure and facilities - including an aquatic and leisure centre, sports halls and arenas and parkland and community facilities covering 240ha.Green wedges are interspersed with hard terraces within the inner spiral, which provides the pedestrian movement.The conservation and enhancement of the mature planting act as a noise baffle to the motorways.

Landscape, environment and lighting consultant Bernard Seymour; quantity surveyorMulcahy McDonagh; civils, mobility management and transportation DBFL; multidisciplinary support consultancyWeidleplan, Stuttgart

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