Europan 10 awards Dublin site to RALA Architects
RALA Architects has been announced as the winner of the Europan Dublin Site competition, one of only two UK practices to have been declared winners in the competition. Europan is an open competition that aims to bring Europe’s young architecture and urban design professionals to the fore while helping cities and developers to find solutions for the transformation of urban locations. RALA submitted a proposal for the conversion of an existing heat plant and chimney from a redundant boiler house to a contemporary art gallery with studios, community workshops and a sculpture garden.
RALA Director, Ross Lambie said: “We are delighted to have been declared winner at Ballymun. This site was a challenge and the brief demanding, but we feel we provided a solution which will make a real contribution to Ballymun’s reinvention.”
RALA’s proposal retains the existing boiler house structure and chimney as a means for people to relate the past to the radically regenerated current and future of Ballymun. The landmark nature of the existing chimney was thought to be too powerful a geographic and cultural marker to be demolished. The design seeks to take advantage of this verticality, rising up with the chimney, to provide a roof garden with views across the 5 communities of Ballymun and into Dublin city centre. The masterplan for the site engages the existing boiler house studio with the street frontage through the creation of a tree-lined and planted public space.
Enclosing the southern part of the site is the new build element of the proposals, primarily the artist studios community workshop. The artist studios are double height spaces, fully glazed on the north face with randomly organised vertical strips of glazing and translucent insulation. This achieves a variety of views without sacrifice to the quality of diffuse light and thermal performance of the building. The non-residential studios face onto the Sculpture Garden, within easy physical and visual access of the public. The residential studios require a greater degree of privacy and therefore are stacked vertically, rising above the gallery, gaining panoramic views of the context within which the artists are working.