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March 19, 2009

Centre of Contemporary Irish Culture, Kenmare by Niall McLaughlin Architects

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The Centre of Contemporary Irish Culture will contain exhibits showing how Irish contemporary culture is rooted in the deep order of the landscape and the local environment. Its vocation will be to contextualise the cultural output of our time in relation to older traditions of craft and design. These, in turn, have their origins in the particular qualities of locality that allow certain kinds of activity to emerge through history.

The building can be situated within this developing tradition by rooting itself in its own situation and expressing something of the concealed history of its landscape. We have designed the building by discovering a founding narrative for the site and showing how the deeper geological order has allowed a local culture to emerge and how this has, in turn, shaped the wider natural landscape. The relationship between topography, climate, economic and social history and the natural order of flora and fauna is a proper study for architecture. We hope that a successful building design will emerge from these considerations. As a result the building can be capable of being read as a microcosm of the whole landscape. This allows the building to mediate between the exhibits displayed within and the broader culture of the region.

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