Heneghan Peng Architects has won a publicly tendered £700,000 contract for a new visitor centre inside ABK’s Berkeley Library at University of Dublin Trinity College
The local practice defeated an unnamed shortlist to win the commission for a 2,000m² visitor centre, shop and temporary exhibition space inside ABK’s original competition-winning 1967 structure.
The project, scheduled to complete in 2020, will provide a new hub for the one million people who visit the university’s 47ha-hectare College Green campus every year.
Trinity College sits opposite the former Irish Houses of Parliament. It was founded in 1592 and is the oldest university in the country. Historic buildings on the site include the Thomas Burgh-designed 1732 Old Library where the famous Book of Kells is kept.
The university’s existing Book of Kells exhibition. Turning Darkness into Light, opened in 1998 and was designed for 250,000 annual visitors but receives around 750,000.
A replacement Reimagined Treasures exhibition is now being delivered inside the Old Library, and Heneghan Peng will renovate areas vacated by the old installation.
The studio will also draw up plans for a new visitor facility on the lower ground floor of the Berkeley Library inside the building’s ‘Podium’ forecourt. A new entrance to the below-ground facility and connection to the Old Library may also be included.
According to the competition brief, ‘the primary aim is to create an inspirational, imaginative, enlarged exhibition, along with a greatly improved visitor experience in terms of access, shop, and facilities in the Podium of the 50-year-old Berkeley Library.
‘An aspirational aim is to reprise the aesthetic glory of the ground floor of the Old Library, by opening views from square to square through the colonnades.’
Peter Ahrends, Richard Burton and Paul Koralek formed Ahrends Burton Koralek (ABK) after winning a competition for the building in 1960.
The practice also completed the university’s Arts Building in 1979 and a further extension in 2002.