Sport Ireland commissioned Cooney Architects in 2013 to investigate the re-use of an existing abandoned concrete structure, and to provide an innovative solution to fulfil the technical brief, while providing a iconic building on the campus to facilitate national, local and Campus wide conference facilities, containing a café and dressing rooms.
The brief called for a building that would achieve a minimum A3 energy rating; we were required to investigate the broader opportunities for sustainability including reuse of materials (energy, equity, health, beauty, materials, site, water).
The completed building consists of a south facing triple height ‘street’ and a north facing, deep plan ‘black box’, which contains the conference room, changing rooms and services.
The Campus Conference Centre is a ‘Hub’ for social and professional interaction. The ‘street’ with its adjacent café and external meeting area are linked vertically to the conference facilities and horizontally to the 22 existing Sports Campus facilities. The internal café space, located on ‘the street’, together with the external sheltered south facing outdoor meeting area, with white brick seats, actively encourage interaction and create collaborative spaces for the campus staff and visitors.
This design response evolved from the processes of immersion where we analysed the opportunities presented by site, context, orientation, reuse of existing structural and material elements, solar gain, natural ventilation and embodied energy.
The building fabric is appropriately insulated, cold bridges are eliminated, it is airtight, predominantly south facing and designed to facilitate solar gain during the summer time. All spaces, excluding the ‘black box’ element, are naturally lit. The two triple-height, south facing spaces, at either end of ‘the street’ gallery, create natural stack effect ventilators in summer time, the windows at both lower and upper level can be opened and draw air in, acting like a chimney. In winter time they collect solar gain through their large south facing windows and this heat is transferred to the thermally massive core of the building.
A combination of passive stack effect ventilation and mechanical heat recovery ventilation is used in the conference rooms and changing facilities.
We believe that this process of design and realisation has resulted in a completed building that is healthy, beautiful and appropriate and above all uplifting to the human condition.
Frank Cooney B.Arch MRIAI