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Ballyfermot Leisure & Youth Centre

  • Architect:
    McGarry NíÉanaigh Architects
  • Award Type:
    Best Leisure Building 2009
  • Location: Dublin
Ballyfermot Leisure & Youth Centre


An assured civic building that combines an assembly of functions ranging from large scale public spaces to the more intimate spaces of a youth centre and crèche. The bold use of colour and form combine to make a memorable landmark, which has become a valuable local amenity and social focus.

An excellent example of good patronage and a highly accomplished architectural response.


The site is located in Le Fanu Park, Ballyfermot, Dublin. The well-used park is bordered by the main street building’s ragged backside on one edge with low inner city suburban houses on the other three. Both the park and the existing disused pool had poor visibility from main street.

Our primary aim for this €18.2 million development was to consolidate the public domain placing two buildings around a new public space and forming a new entrance into the park. Different expectations between the two buildings determined a large scaled public building for all ages in the leisure centre with the youth centre being directed at a teenage audience with a more intensely packed brief. The gestures in the leisure centre are sweeping, operating at the scale of a sports hall; whereas, the youth centre has a smaller scale design.


The Architects were commissioned by Dublin City Council and the Department of Arts, Sports and Tourism to design the Ballyfermot Leisure and Youth Centre in 1999.

The focus of the brief was to provide a range of leisure facilities which would meet community needs and promote social cohesion. In addition it would offer a range of programmes and services to meet the specific needs of the youth in the community. The design of the youth building, the types of facilities and the nature of the physical environment were seen as key to ensuring participation. This unique building, its facilities, the atmosphere and its look and feel all lend themselves to supporting innovation in working with children and young people as well as providing opportunities to move with the times. The upgrade of Le Fanu Park also formed part of the brief, its presence enhanced.

This complex of buildings is an important development which will enrich the civic life of Ballyfermot