Low energy civic office building by Bucholz McEvoy Architects designed as a 'sculpture of light'
Westmeath County Council Headquarters is a low energy civic office building located at the heart of an important archaeological site. The building is an open and transparent building of public service and is carefully woven into the historic archaeological context, creating an ensemble of new and old buildings, which together bring new meaning and civic values to this site.
The new building is a civic place, internally a sculpture of light, created primarily with glass, timber, and concrete, externally an open and transparent expression of local government. The structure is designed to provide a vessel for the transparency attributed to local government, a civic building accessible by all, while providing both a comfortable work place and a pleasant experience for visitors.
The building form is principally organized in two axes and two buildings; one north-south which contains the library and cafe and establishes the principal relationship with the existing County Building, and the other an east-west curved office block. The library is accessed from the main public space with its double height reading room addressing the public park. The curved office spine looks to the south, addressing a new public park over the excavated ground.
The entirely naturally ventilated building maximizes passive design principles and creates an environment in-balance with the nature. The design of a structure in its construction and operation consumes less of the environment’s natural non-renewable resources. A double facade combined with an atrium lung serve to effect all of the ventilation in the office building.