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Keith Williams gets the greenlight in County Clare

Nick Myall
Thursday 29 Mar 2018

Keith Williams has revealed designs for Clare County Library as the firm’s competition winning project gains planning consent

The new Clare County Library, designed by Keith Williams Architects in Ennis, County Clare, Ireland has been granted planning consent.

The new 2,300m2 project for client Clare County Council, has been conceived as a new cultural hub for the town and the region. It will abut the town’s existing Glór Theatre (2001) adding the new County Library and a small contemporary Art Gallery. When complete its new main entrance will form a gateway to the literary, visual and performing arts contained within.

The new building takes the form of a 10m high sinuous masonry wall which will provide the outer skin to the library and art gallery creating a new civic frontage for this new arts building complex. Rooflights and sidelight glazed slots bring daylight into the heart of the plan, whilst “incident windows” connect the interior with the exterior and offer views to key points within the town. The administrative offices for the county library sit above the double height main library space in a single, rectangular form.

The building fabric exhibits a strong masonry presence using complimentary contrasting colour in the fenestration and integral panelling, to create strong rhythm on the façade.

Technical design has commenced with a view to construction starting later in 2018.

Cllr. Tom McNamara, Mayor of Clare, commented, “The development of a new County Library facility has long been sought after by past and present Members of the Council, as well as by the local community. Clare County Library is one of our most valuable resources and it is appropriate therefore, that it is provided with a modern facility befitting its status from which to continue to deliver a vitally important service to the people of Clare.”

Mayor McNamara also acknowledged the contribution of the wider community during the public consultation process on the proposed new facility.

Pat Dowling, Chief Executive of Clare County Council, added, “Clare County Council is committed to further enhancing its cultural facilities and infrastructure. This development will strengthen Clare’s reputation as a cultural centre as well as support economic and social activity in Ennis.”

Liam Conneally, Director of Service and responsible for the Library’s delivery stated that, “the new Clare County Library being contiguous to the glór music centre will represent a cluster of cultural and creative activity befitting Ennis, County Clare’s capital town”. He stated “this modern architectural design located on an important Ennis town centre site will not only serve its library function well but will also be aesthetically pleasing to locals and visitors alike”.

Helen Walsh, Clare County Librarian, commented, “Ireland has seen some ambitious library buildings developed in the last decade and some outstanding and beautiful architectural structures have been achieved as a result. We believe the new County Library will be one of these buildings combining technologically advanced services whilst keeping the customer at the heart of service delivery. It truly will be a library for the 21st century."Ruth Hurley, Senior Executive Architect and project manager for Clare County Council remarked: “It is anticipated that the building design will provide a contemporary architectural response to the modern library whilst remaining user friendly, energy efficient and adaptable for future changes.”

Keith Williams, the firm’s founder and director of design stated, “I am delighted that the project has been consented and is proceeding toward tender and construction. This will be a very important building for the town of Ennis, the whole of County Clare and South-West Ireland.”

Consultants ARUP, AECOM, AxisEng and OLM Consultancy are working with KWA on the project.

Nick Myall

News editor

Key Facts:

Architecture
Ireland
Education

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