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2003 – Virus Reference Laboratory, University College Dublin, Co. Dublin

Architect: McCullough Mulvin Architects

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One of the most recent campus additions is McCullough Mulvin’s extension to the Virus Reference Laboratory (VRL). Affiliated with the university’s Department of Medical Microbiology, the VRL provides a national diagnostic virology service for Ireland, as well as undertaking research and issuing regular publications. The new building slots into a tight site between the main VRL laboratory and Ardmore House on the upper part of the campus. Though small in scale, the project plays a significant role in consolidating the relationship between the central buildings and the surrounding landscape, and, in particular, the lake directly below it. With its lightweight skin and simple geometry, the new building forms an expressive contrast with its more leaden brick and stoneclad campus counterparts. Facades are wrapped in a taut skin of interlocking and overlapping panels of glass and Western red cedar which project and recede from the main surface plane. The cedar will weather to a delicate silvery grey.