Part of the RIAI Network

1991 | 1992 | 1993 | 1994 | 1995 | 1996 | 1997 | 1998 | 1999 | 2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012

VISUAL - Centre for Contemporary Art & The George bernard Shaw Theatre

  • Architect:
    Terry Pawson Architects
  • Award Type:
    Best Cultural Building 2010
  • Location: Leinster
VISUAL - Centre for Contemporary Art & The George bernard Shaw Theatre

The elegant sequence of interior spaces, particularly the luminous gallery, is both handsome and flexible. The external treatment is well proportioned and, while reserved, remains expressive in its urban setting.

VISUAL – Centre for Contemporary Art & The George Bernard Shaw Theatre brings together into one building a 350 seat theatre with 5 art galleries specifically designed to accommodate large art works that otherwise could not be shown in Ireland due to their scale.

The architectural approach to combining these two building types has been to express them as an ambiguous abstract composition in translucent glass that can transform through light between the more contemplative and introspective daytime use as an art gallery, to the more exuberant night-time activity of theatre and performance space.

As a contrast to the white box galleries the intermediate connecting spaces have been cast against the rough surface of oriented strand board, which gives the walls its visually soft texture, almost like that of crushed velvet, harking back to the times when art was displayed in the homes of the wealthy on richly textured wallpaper.

The architect's vision and delivery on the building created a series of spaces which allow for a layered and textured curatorial approach.

The mission of VISUAL is to be rooted in our community while maintaining a robust national and international profile. Simplicity is at the core of the inaugural gallery programme. Each space has been carefully allocated work which can breathe while giving breadth to the vision of the architect. It is important that our visitors see and experience the shape and form of this extraordinary building. Clarity and openness are required. Judging by the deep breadth of excitement that visitors express on entering the main gallery this has been achieved.