The competition-winning design for Tullamore Arts Centre by A2 Architects was officially unveiled on 21 July. The design was the outcome of an open, two-stage design competition administered by the RIAI for which 119 entries had been received.
“What our design team present is a value for money, universally accessible and sustainable community arts centre design that is embedded in the context and rich history of Tullamore, Offaly and its position at the centre of Ireland. As a development of other arts centers that exist in Ireland, a more permeable, responsive and flexible community arts centre is proposed for Tullamore.” A2 Architects
The accommodation of the centre comprises of; a 250 seat auditorium which can be open out onto Kilbride Park, offering a unique summer performance experience; a dedicated gallery space with adjacent workshop/studio; three large multipurpose rooms for use by the community; a café/bar, back stage, storage and administration areas.
The exterior will be clad in horizontal ashlar Tullamore limestone cladding to define the ‘podium’ of the building, directly referencing the old quarry site it sits on. Above which is stacked corten steel cladding, a no maintenance material that alludes to the industrial heritage of the canal and town.
The external setting is designed to compliment and extend the public realm works underway at Bury Quay; an attractive communal space that links the arts centre with the heritage centre and historical society, contributing to a cultural quarter in Tullamore.
Offaly County Council reported on its website, mylocalnews.ie: “You could hear a pin drop, as the 500 strong audience at the Tullamore Court Hotel hung onto every word of Architect Peter Carroll from A2 Architects, as he explained their concept for the arts centre. Nobody was left in doubt that this young team of architects had delved deep into the history and culture of Tullamore and Offaly to find their inspiration for the centre’s design.”
Caomhan Murphy of A2 paid tribute to the Board, the local authorities, the arts and business sector and wider community of Tullamore for having the confidence and commitment to run with this project, to be looking towards the future despite current economic difficulties. “We very much look forward to building your arts centre”
“We want to create a plan without hierarchy; a very public building. All publically accessible spaces of the programme are all on one floor.