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Manalo & White wins Sligo surfing centre job

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London’s Manalo & White has won a publically tendered contract for a new £390,000 surfing and coastal community centre in Strandhill, County Sligo

The studio teamed up with Donegal-based artist and pioneer of Irish surfing Barry Britton to win the job.

The proposed 350m² facility will create a new community hub and home for the County Sligo Surf Club.

Planned to complete in 2017, the project will replace an existing bungalow with a two-storey structure featuring a retail unit, office, lobby and changing rooms.

A multipurpose space, kitchen, storage area and toilets will also be included while the building’s exterior will feature graphic art by Britton.

The club is currently based inside the nearby Strandhill Maritime Centre which it shares with the Voya Seaweed Baths company.

Once the club has relocated to the new centre the bathing facility will expand to occupy the remainder of the building which first opened in 2001.

Located around 8 kilometres west of Sligo, the Atlantic Ocean-facing village has a very large beach which is popular with surfers.

The architect’s view

County Sligo

County Sligo

Manalo & White proposal for a new surfing and coastal community centre in Strandhill - site plan

The winning design aims for straightforward constructibility and cost-effectiveness, but not at the expense of quality, robustness, and unique aesthetic identity and appeal. The plan aims for maximum flexibility, to allow for independent use of the various spaces.

The majority of the building is laid out over the ground floor level, with a retail shopfront prominent on the waterfront. To the north side of the building is a public paved area, linking the waterfront with the adjacent public park. To the south side is a strip for servicing, utility and jet-ski access and storage.

The north elevation of the building, with the main public entrance doors, is angled to address the park, and to integrate the future Phase 2 area into the plan. The entrance doors provide a large opening to a covered, sheltered outdoor linking space.

This serves as a multifunctional, flexible area for outdoor coaching, changing, showering and drying wetsuits. Doors in the southern wall of the covered outdoor space lead to changing rooms, board storage / locker room, office and treatment room.

On the upper level, the club / community room occupies a simple large rectangular space with a vaulted ceiling and picture windows framing the views of the ocean to the west and the monolithic hillof Knocknarea to the east. A fireplace in the north wall adds a focal point of comfort and warmth.

Exterior materials have been chosen for durability, ease of construction, low cost and visual appeal. The upper floor and roof will be clad in black rubber; a metaphorical wetsuit / sea creature. The lower roof has rubber-clad angled south-facing sealed rooflights, bringing daylight and sunlight into the interior spaces.

The black rubber also clads a large gutter running around the building, with black galvanised metal downpipes to carry rainwater to storage tanks for re-use. The external walls below the gutter line are full-height prefabricated concrete panels, etched with graphic art by Barry Britton. The entire ground floor perimeter of the new building will form a largescale concrete canvas for his work.

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