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Carlow Tourist Office & Gallery

  • Architect:
    Studio M Architects
  • Award Type:
    Regional Award 2001
  • Location: Leinster
Carlow Tourist Office & Gallery

Citation

Eastern (over £100,000)

A modest exterior with a restrained portal reveals a sensitive, dramatic and well detailed modern space.

Clients Comments
The development of the Tourist Office and Gallery is seen as one of the many initiatives in the development of Carlow’s Cultural Quarter. It provides a strong link with the existing Library on Tullow St. and the proposed Museum on College St.  A dedicated professional team ensured the realisation of the project in a very tight programme. The project took eight months from inception to its official opening in October 2000.  The Tourist Office and Gallery encapsulate our vision of the future of Carlow, whilst respecting it’s historical past.   We extend our thanks to the design and construction team for a project well executed. 

Architects Comments
Located in the heart of the proposed new Cultural Quarter in Carlow town, this project involves the refurbishment of part of the former Presentation Convent, now a protected structure, into a Tourist Office with gallery spaces on two upper levels. It is proposed to develop the remainder of the convent as a County Museum, incorporating the adjacent chapel.  The building was conceived as an interface between Carlow Library and a phased development of the existing convent, linking the existing building, the library and the proposed museum with sympathetic universal access.

A new entrance was created on College Street in glass and timber, serving as an indicator of the contemporary approach within. The existing ground floor windows were lowered, reinforcing the buildings connection to the street. The existing fabric was restored in line with Heritage Council recommendations using lime render both internally and externally.

The interior was conceived as a series of interventions within this existing fabric. The primary organising element, a three storey volume, is envisaged as a sculpted, ‘inverted cone’, with vertical and horizontal layering which connects all levels of the building. This is reinforced by an oak clad tower, screen wall and oak cube - elements which form a sculptural backdrop to the central space.  A uniform palette of materials is used throughout the project: Portuguese limestone flooring with bush-hammered Carlow limestone insets, vertical oak sheeting, oak veneered sculpted timber elements, a bridge clad in stainless steel with structural glass balustrades and, at upper levels, wide-plank oak flooring.