Leinster House Welcome Pavillion

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    • #707638

      Catch a look at the new welcome pavillion which has just been completed on Kildare Street. Its very smart. Will try and get a few pictures if I can.

    • #750106

      Yes it’s great. Bucholz & McEvoy again I presume?
      I just wonder how long it will be before the “receptionist/porters” agitate and spolit it with more clunky furniture because they feel too exposed?

    • #750107

      They have no website.

      Anyone got pics?

    • #750108

      Looks fantastic, if not perhaps a bit contrived – it’s falling over itself to be the ultimate in sheek, with the staff looking uneasily around from inside their goldfish bowl.
      Overall though it works exceedingly well, the timber ceiling is fabulous as is the matching furniture and fittings beneath. And is that Connemara marble detailing? Could be melamine for all I know but it looks great 🙂

      Most impressive though about the design is that no matter where you view it from it is sited just below the railing/pier-line so doesn’t intrude, not so much on the historic natue of the place but just the setting in general; it reduces the clutter. The removal of a railing panel for use as an entrance is surprisingly unnoticable – the railing has been cut in two and now folds back on itself as a gate.

      Is the 60s security cabin to be removed?

    • #750109

      There’s a lot of pressure washing happening around Dublin at the minute, just can’t think of them all at the minute but here’s one, the plinths and piers of the Leinster House railings round the back on Merrion St.
      So used to seeing them being old and grimey and charmingly Victorian in appearance that I don’t know what to make of their new appearance:

      Very very clean – weird to see them as they would have looked when first unveiled.
      Sorry I couldn’t get a pic of the pavillion round the front – didn’t have time as you can see from the failing light. Didn’t want to ask one of the intimidating Guards there anyway – the railing pic as it is was a click and run job 🙂

    • #750110

      I know this is slightly off-topic, but does anybody else share the view that a real addition to the Kildare St state buildings would be to interconnect the Kildare Street Museum with the Natural History Museum on Merrion Sq., and ditto with the Library and the Gallery?

    • #750111

      Here’s the Irish Times article about the pavilion from last week, sums it up very well – you probably got it via e-mail anyway…

      Dail’s simple security box conceals complex structure

      The new security pavilion outside the Dáil has a calm presence, deftness of touch and displays confidence, writes Emma Cullinan.

      The simplest objects can mask the complexities in their making.

      This is the case with a building which is so transparent that passers’ by may not even notice it at first, despite its prominent position.

      The new security pavilion outside the Dáil in Kildare Street, Dublin 2, is a glass box tucked in behind the traditional railings, whose roof line barely peeks above the iron uprights.

      The complexities came in both the design and the bureaucracy involved.

      “It took a lot of persuasion and consultation to get this building here,” says monitoring architect Angela Rolfe, “because a fine 18th century building demands an excellent contemporary building in its grounds to enhance the space rather than detract from it.”

      It certainly takes some structure to stand in front of the Georgian mansion that is Leinster House, designed by Richard Cassels in 1745, and the wings that house the library and museum, by Thomas Newenham Deane and his son, Thomas Manly Deane, which were added in 1890.

      The new “Welcoming Pavilion” could be considered as phase two for architects Bucholz McEvoy, which created the two glass pavilions for the Department of the Taoiseach at the other side of this building complex on Merrion Row a few years ago.

      In her search for a dynamic young practice to design this, Angela Rolfe was told about Bucholz McEvoy who were then working on Fingal County Hall (with BDP), a building that gave Irish county council office design a shake up. Now many local authorities are commissioning good architects to create their HQs.

      While those manning the entrances to visitor attractions and car-parks the world over are often confined to timber or plastic boxes, it was always the intention of the OPW to have a splendid pavilion for their security staff to sit in.

      “We absolutely set out to have a beautiful structure,” says Rolfe. And they’ve achieved that.

      Glass buildings are the rage for many good reasons, not least their ability to sit lightly beside older buildings.

      Here the structure achieves the gentler security presence the OPW wanted, rather than assaulting visitors with a fortress-style box.

      As you approach you feel you are being watched, actually, you know you are being watched because you can see the security staff looking at you.

      The new pavilion is designed to control the movement of people. In the past visitors would stroll in through the vehicle entrance and wait to be spotted by a security guard.

      Now cars have their entrance; TDs and other staff have a quick walk-through in which they just have to give the nod to security staff; while the general public enter via a ramp for proper processing.

      This includes parties of school children who can be kept in the “holding bay” at one end of the building, with handy timber benches for them to slouch and slide on.

      But the glass also allows visitors and passers by to see into the courtyard beyond, which ties the trio of history, politics and learning together: the National Museum, Leinster House and the National Library.

      No clumsy columns obscure the view through, instead the building is supported by slender steel legs and in the roof great, no-nonsense glulam Siberian x-beams take care of the lateral forces (at the tops of the columns steel brackets rotate slightly to allow for lateral movement).

      The architects worked with engineer Niccolo Baldicini, who specialises in aircraft engineering.

      The aviation industry can’t have tolerances of 20mm here or there – as is possible in many buildings – such stresses might cause wings to fall off.

      The colour of the beams was chosen to complement the shade of the stone on the museum (an excellent example of Irish decorative stonework), which can be seen through the roof.

      There are more deft details. At the point where the larch beams cross, the strips of timber interlink, like fingers in a clasped hand, in such a way as to negate the need for bolts which would “interrupt the flow”.

      The various elements in this building connect well: the structure was made by an Italian firm, Polar, and shipped to Ireland.

      “They are good at glass, steel and timber,” says Karen McEvoy. “While many people may specialise in each of these materials, this company is good at combining all three and takes great care with the junctions between them.”

      While some of these junctions slide discreetly together others are more extrovert in their expression with fat Frankenstein-like bolts securing slabs of metal. It makes for a good mix of sleek and chunky throughout.

      With few places to hide in such a transparent building, the finishes and joins are important, as is the concealment of support mechanisms and everyday equipment.

      The wiring for the building runs up behind the steel columns and sits on top of the larch beams, while other electrical equipment and anything that needs storing is held in the long countertop that runs along the centre of the building.

      Made by Ross Furniture, this comprises upright oak slats topped with a busy green Connemara marble that shows how natural materials can get away with flourishes that synthetics just can’t carry off: this would look gaudy in plastic.

      Green Irish marble seemed such an appropriate material with which to adorn the entrance to Ireland’s parliament building, says Merritt Bucholz (although Italians actually quarry and cut the stone).

      It also works, along with the salvaged teak floor, as a counter to the sleekness of the rest of the structure.

      “With such engineered details we wanted to add in materials that have the ability to speak,” says Bucholz.

      One jarring element is the X-ray portal, which is more slender than most, but until all companies follow the likes of Apple in turning everyday objects into designer items, we will be lumbered with the devices on offer.

      The interruption of nature, both outside and inside the pavilion, does contrast beautifully with the highly engineered simplicity of the box.

      At one point the building draws inwards to accommodate a tree and beneath one of the benches a glass wall, filled with wood chips, bends in to make way for a tree root which couldn’t be cut.

      Plane trees that were planted just over 100 years ago, in an arc, dictated the shape of this building, as did the outer railings and entrance road.

      So the building performs acrobatics around the set points to create a trapezoid through tree trapeze.

      Yet the building doesn’t look as if it has struggled to gain its shape.

      It has a calm presence, deftness of touch and displays confidence.

      Everything’s here for a reason and the various elements have been balanced beautifully.

      © The Irish Times

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