Centre for Contemporary Irish Culture, Kenmare

The project is an exhibition centre on the edge of water, overlooking Kenmare Bay in County Kerry. The gallery space will be curated to show how Irish contemporary culture is rooted within the older traditions of craft and design and the order of the landscape.

The building reflects this aspiration by expressing something of the concealed history of the landscape in its form and materiality. For the design we studied the local topography, climate, economic and social history and the natural order of flora and fauna. We understood that the particular geology of the site has allowed a local culture to emerge and this has, in turn, shaped the wider natural landscape. By being rooted in its own situation, the building can be read as a microcosm of the whole landscape.

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The building is organised as an array of angled linear volumes. By shifting the position of the blocks along the east-west axis, a series of enclosed and open sided courtyards are created. As one moves through the building, the courtyards frame and structure the views extending alternately to the east and west.