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Terry Pawson Architects has won an international competition to design a new National Centre for Contemporary Art in Carlow, Ireland. The £5.7 million, 3,600m 2 scheme will incorporate a 350-seat theatre and performing-arts centre within the grounds of St Patrick's College in the heart of the city. Facing Carlow Cathedral across an open quadrangle, the galleries will provide enough space to display large contemporary art installations, and the centre is intended to become an 'art factory' to foster local talent.

The art centre will also house new media technologies, including digital equipment, while the theatre will create a 'regional focus' for a range of performing arts, music, dance, literary readings and cinema. Describing the project, a spokesman for Pawson said: 'The architectural approach to combining these two building types has been to express them both as an abstract composition of translucent glass that is able to subtly change between what is a more contemplative and introspective daytime use as an art gallery and the more exuberant night-time activity of theatre and performance.' The scheme, which saw off competition from nearly 120 other entries, has now been submitted for planning. The centre is expected to open to the public in early 2007.

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