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Rush Library, Dublin, Ireland

Monday 29 Jun 2009

Divine intervention

images by Ros Kavanagh Photography 
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Award Entry

McCullough Mulvin Architects completes conversion of former St Maur's church 

St Maur’s Church dominates the village green on the Western edge of the town. The local authority commissioned McCulloughMulvin Architects to transform it into the town library.

The work combined a careful investigation and conservation of the existing structure with a particular concern for the rescue of ordinary materials, making a distinctive intervention into the existing structure to hold the new facilities. This is formed as an undulating walnut plane which fills the nave running across the floor and up on both sides; the shape is barely contained, pushing tensely against the shell of the existing building.

On plan, it is like a clump of seaweed; a reference to it's marine location. In section, it forms an inverted U-shape with two galleries. The space between them, taut and formed like a city street, deforms the route from entrance to ‘altar’, forcing it to meander; glimpses of a coloured termination lost and found again, the central chandelier a reminder of the orthogonality of the plan.

Externally, the churchyard became a garden, strips of concrete inset with names of the town and library interspersed with channels planted with grasses and vegetables. The spirit of the graveyard, and the towns agricultural basis, is extended for a new generation.

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McCullough Mulvin Architects

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