The new VISUAL Centre for Contemporary Art and The George Bernard Shaw Theatre, located on the grounds of Carlow College was opened on the 26th of September 2009. The arts venue comprises a main link gallery that acts as a central hub, off which other art gallery spaces extend and a 353-seat performing arts theatre suitable for music, dance and drama in addition to film screenings, literary readings and other events. The theatre will also be the home venue for a number of Carlow based arts groups who will use it for workshops, rehearsals and presentation of work.
Designed by Terry Pawson Architects the building presents itself as an assembly of different sized volumes clad in opaque glass raised on a concrete plinth, with the largest gallery at its centre and smaller galleries and theatre spiralling around it. Designed to be viewed from all angles, VISUAL confidently asserts its architectural form to visitors who arrive on foot through the grounds of the College and to those who arrive by car from the car park to the rear.