Written by Elizabeth on 14-02-10 | Categories: Site Visits
A crisp November morning provided the setting for 60 AAI members and interested Derry inhabitants to experience a tour of the recently completed Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin.
John Tuomey began the description on the street opposite, introducing the project's deep landlocked siting, with narrow frontage on to an erratic terraced edge of the city's Georgian Quarter; neighbouring the political presence of muralled Bogside gables and a short distance from the hard medieval walled edge of the city centre.
The narrative of the building unwound as we wrapped around the rooflit, terrazzo-floored courtyard and the pockets of communal spaces that overlook it. We were drawn through streetscape meeting rooms and language classrooms, as well and oriental strand board lined theatre to the rear. We were told of the complexities of the site; the difficult task of creating an open functioning, tectonic sequence of spaces while accommodating the inflexible constraints of a deep emergency escape, an electrical substation and numerous planning requirements. The journey culminated under the sawtooth roof light that gives views to the landscape backdrop of the city and edits the middle ground of suburban housing; here was recalled the tale of untimely death of the primary craftsman during the course of the construction.
The project was commissioned by An Gaeláras; a cultural ogranisation committed to the promotion of the Irish culture and language. In keeping with this function, its occupants address you and converse with ease in an increasingly invigorated language of our past. Analogously, the building speaks in a former constructional language of this island; the bare, carved massitivity of the medieval tower house. The project makes manifest a vibrant, contemporary expression of both of these linguistic concerns by virtue of its playful 'jack in the box' geometry and use of colour; as well as the immensely open generosity of its civic gesture.
Thank you to John Tuomey for his generosity of description in a fascinating tour, to Anne-Louise Duignan for helping organise the event and providing drawings, and to all those who traveled from near and far to attend the event.
Read more about the project here:
Written by Stephen Mulhall on 05-02-10 | Categories: Building Material
Siobhán McDonald, artist, is launching her new website:
Siobhán’s work features in Building Material 19 Art & Architecture.
Siobhán McDonald was born in New York and brought up in Monaghan, Ireland. She trained in Dublin, Belfast and New York and is based in Dublin. She received her BA (Hons) in Fine Art at the University of Ulster. Recent solo shows include: Ash and Ether, Threshold, Heaven in Earth, Seed (Cross Gallery Dublin, 2003 - 2009); Shroud, Clodagh Gallery, New York (2008); Sojourn, Catherine Hammond Gallery, West Cork; Messenger, Vangard Gallery, Cork; Moon, the Royal Hibernian Academy (RHA) Ashford Gallery (2001); Thread Softly, the Kevin Kavanagh Gallery. Recent group shows include: the Boyle Arts Festival (2009); Flora Farinbairns Gallery London (2009); Pallas Heights (2008); Dublin Art Fair (2008-09); RHA Annual Exhibition (2008). Her paintings are in many public collections including: the Office of Public Works, University College Dublin, Bank of Ireland, University of Ulster, Allied Irish Bank, and are collected by private collectors nationally and internationally.
Images from top:
Pigeon House, Dublin, April 2009
Osmosis 1, Oil paint on canvas
Written by Stephen Mulhall on 05-02-10 | Categories: Building Material
Building Material 19 Art & Architecture is featured on publicart.ie:
Publicart.ie offers in-depth and practical material about public art practice in Ireland.
Written by Ronan Costelloe on 04-02-10 | Categories: Architecture
This bridge dates from 1907 and connects Bull Island with the mainland. It has replaced two other previous structures, the earliest being built in 1819, its original purpose being to facilitate the construction of the North Bull Wall. The wall itself was constructed to prevent Dublin harbour from silting up. The wall helps maintain an adequate depth clearance for ships to pass through the harbour by creating a barrier for the silt deposits; these deposits built up over time to form the Bull Island as we know it today.
Due to is age (over 100 years) and constant exposure to a harsh maritime climate as well as over half of the structure being submerged in saltwater daily, a company called Carnehill Building Services carried out essential restoration work to the bridge in 2008.
In Ireland it is common practice to use timbers such as Oak, Iroko, Larch, Douglas fir and Cedar for external building purposes; when properly treated these timbers present an adequate resistance to moisture and are used for cladding and general joinery projects. However, when the design for the Bull Wall bridge was being conceived is was clear that timbers with an exceptionally high water resistance would be required due to the fact that the proposed structure would be partly submerged underwater.
From a distance it is possible to assume that the bridge is constructed in one type of timber, when in fact three types are being used, each with its own specific purpose:
A ‘Greenheart’ column and beam assembly forms the superstructure of the bridge. These columns and beams are 230x230mm in section and are set out in rows of four on a grid along the length of the causeway. Greenheart timber (exported from Guyana) has exceptional density and strength. Its heartwood is highly resistant to attack by fungi, marine borers and dry-wood termites, making it a marine and shipbuilders' favorite.
The superstructure supports crossrails made from ‘Ekki’, which are 230 x 75mm in section and are set out at 300mm centres. Ekki, a West African hardwood, is classified as "exceptionally heavy" and is considered to be one of the most durable of all African woods.
It is noted more for its impressive strength and difficulty in working than its appearance. These characteristics have resulted in a long list of practical rather than decorative uses. Ekki is a perfect material for heavy construction or other uses where great strength and durability is needed. Typical applications include wharfs, bridges, sea fences and river pilings because of the wood's strength and resistance to decay.
The bridge supports both pedestrian and vehicular traffic. The carriageway deck is 3100mm wide and is constructed of Ekki due to its hardwearing and durable nature.
Douglas Fir is the only timber used on the bridge which grows in Ireland. Both the pathway (bridge consists of two paths either side of the carriageway) and handrail are constructed in Douglas Fir. Each pathway is 1400mm wide and is built from 200 x 50mm Douglas Fir planks. Douglas-fir, classified as a softwood can be used for external applications as long as its heartwood (as opposed to sapwood) is used. It is used extensively in the construction industry.
The above image shows how decayed sections of the greenheart superstructure had to be replaced with new lengths spliced into the structure as shown.
While only certain sections of the greenheart structure had to be replaced the ekki crossrails were extensively decayed and had to be replaced accordingly.
The above image shows the extensive number of new crossrails with the douglas fir planks for the footpath being laid out.
The above image shows the new ekki carraigeway with the douglas fir timber for the footpath beside.
The bridge begins with a Junction between the new ekki carraigeway and the existing granite kerbing.
Views of the newly restored bridge.
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