Temple Bar Umbrellas Win International Architecture Award

The Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design and The European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies has just awarded The International Architecture Award for 2013 to the Rainscreen umbrella project in Meeting House Square. The umbrellas were designed by Dublin firm Sean Harrington Architects and engineered and manufactured by German/Swiss firm MDT-tex for Temple Bar Cultural Trust in Dublin.

The International Architectural Awards are the highest and most prestigious distinguished building awards programme that honour new and cutting-edge design. This annual programme, organised by both institutions, also promotes international architecture and design to a public audience globally.This year, the Museum received a record number of projects for new buildings, landscape architecture, and urban planning from the most important firms practicing globally.

The 2013 Jury for Awards was held in New York and over 60 projects from 16 nations were selected by a distinguished group of American architects and educators.

In September 2013, The Chicago Athenaeum, together with The European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies will present a special exhibition of all awarded buildings at their annual symposium, “The City and the World” during the 14th International Biennial of Architecture Buenos Aires. After Buenos Aires, the exhibition will then travel inside Europe.

The citation description was as follows: “The aim of the intervention was to allow Meeting House Square to be used throughout the year in all weathers, but particularly in the increasingly inclement Irish summers, as climate change begins to impact. The project was the central focus of the 20th Anniversary celebrations of the regeneration of Temple Bar, Dublin’s Cultural Quarter; a retractable rain-screen roof, so that the space remained open air, but could be covered when necessary, thereby fulfilling the potential of his wonderful outdoor performance space, by increasing the certainty of performance and event programming.

Meeting House Square’s cover is the first of its kind in Ireland. The bespoke design comprises of four 21-metre high steel structures, each of which supports an asymmetric tilted umbrella, measuring approximately 11m by 14m. The closed umbrellas are elegant slim objects of sculptural beauty, with the canopy fabric encapsulated by the umbrella arms, inspired by bulrushes, reaching for the sky. Opening within approximately 12 minutes, the four synchronised umbrellas overlap like flowers to provide a continuous cover for Meeting House Square, the heart of outdoor cultural activity in Dublin. Floodlit from above through the translucent PTFE fabric, the square can be atmospherically lit in different colour moods. Audio speakers as well as water and electricity supplies are incorporated for maximum usability.”