Cavan College

This building in Cavan is one of the new colleges which bridge the gap between second and third level, offering new opportunities to a wide range of students throughout the country. Like most education projects, budgets dictate the utmost economy of circulation and simplicity of finish. The site, a lake on early maps and then a boggy field, is a green hollow surrounded by hummocky hills. Just out of town, yet close enough for walking. The idea of the building was to make a simple, repeatable series of blocks linked by social spaces set within greenery.

Each block is cut to suit the programme. Each has a prismatic, extruded form incorporating a pitched roof with stone gables to the road (a planning requirement) and large periscope-type windows at the other end to look back to the town. Geometric planting between blocks brings greenery and shading deep into the plans, with low planted berms blending into the natural bog landscape. Externally, to encourage a reading of the planar form of each block, windows are flush glazed and a neutral grey tone is set for all surfaces - wall, windows and pale slated roof. In contrast, the blunt stone ends of the blocks to the road have 'eye' windows, recessed in a fluid pattern. Internally, colour is used in sharp accents, crisp green flooring in the public spaces offsetting black metalwork. Within the classrooms, more neutral tones are used to bounce light around the space.