Medieval Mile Museum and Displaced Longitude Exhibition, Chapel Royal

Two images represent parallel exploration of contemporary design and its relationship to history through the medium of film and the process of radical intervention into existing structures.

St Mary’s Medieval Mile Museum in Kilkenny - selected for the 2018 International Domus Restoration and Preservation Prize curated by the University of Ferrara - is built around a semi-ruined medieval church. Found elements like the exposed roof timbers have been retained; new elements, carefully researched, have been constructed in folded timber and lead on medieval foundations to restore the original outline of the church destroyed at the Reformation. Internally, the new elements create new spatial relationships; the taut timber-lined chancel room becomes a focus at the Eastern end. 
This contemporary exploration of historic form is mirrored in the Displaced Longitude exhibition in the Chapel Royal in Dublin Castle, where three films play across Gothic structure - moving form spliced and cut by vaulted ceilings. The three films - originally shown in the Alvaro Siza Sao Bento Metro Station in Porto, Portugal - can all be seen from one point. They present practice projects (including St Mary’s) simultaneously but from different angles and at different levels of engagement to architectural perception - as ideas, as realities, and somewhere between - perception enhanced by the monstrous capacity of drones.  

Phase 1 of Thapar University Student Residences Completed

The Thapar University project in the Indian Punjab completes the campus grid with two ‘bookends’, the student residences and a Learning Podium with library, lecture theatres and a computer centre, two hubs linked by shaded pergola walkways. The main student residences are made up of seven towers; like chessmen, the towers establish a series of geometric relationships with one another in a walled garden, with a web of floating walkways above. They provide an innovative new model of high-density student living with bedrooms and social spaces - a mini-city - in an environmentally controlled environment, with extensive shading, water and green space.

Phase 1 of the student residences has now been completed and the buildings are fully occupied; four large L-shaped towers contain bedrooms for 1200 students around an ascending network of interlocking double-height common rooms; each tower is clothed in a red jaali screen surface - the other three blocks are due to be completed in 2019; a separate white block of student housing stands adjacent to it. Thapar University represents Irish architects working in the wider world; the unique design has been achieved through profound collaboration with the University, with our partners DPA Architects in Delhi and in the context of the great tradition of contemporary architecture in India such as the work of 2018 Pritsker winner Balkrishna Doshi; an Irish ability to listen, to become involved, is a part of this process. India is experiencing a massive expansion in its infrastructure - not least in education - and our practice is honoured to be participating in this development. Everything in India is made through a process of discussion and agreement, finding sustainable ways to build, to live and to make architecture in a very particular climate and culture. 

McCullough Mulvin wins American Architecture Prize for the Beaufort Maritime Energy & Research Laboratory

The Beaufort Maritime & Energy Research Laboratory has won an American Architecture Prize for Design of the Year in the Educational Buildings category. The American Architecture Prize honours designs in the disciplines of architecture, interior design, and landscape architecture with the goal of advancing the appreciation of architecture worldwide. Each submitted design was evaluated by the esteemed AAP Jury on its own merit on the dimensions of Design Excellence, Innovation and Function. McCullough Mulvin is the only Irish practice among this year's winners. The official awards ceremony will be held in New York later this month.

Waterford Fire Station awarded Merit at Structural Steel Design Awards 2017

Waterford Fire Station was awarded a Merit at the Structural Steel Design Awards held in London on October 4th 2017. Organised by the British Constructional Steelwork Association and Steel for Life, the Structural Steel Design Awards recognise the high standards of structural and architectural design attainable in the use of steel and its potential in terms of efficiency, cost effectiveness, aesthetics and innovation. A total of 17 projects were shortlisted, with Waterford Fire Station being the only shortlisted project from Ireland. 

DISPLACED LONGITUDE opens in Sao Bento Metro Station, Porto

DISPLACED LONGITUDE, an exhibition on the work of McCullough Mulvin, was officially opened on 26th Sept 2017 by Irish Ambassador Orla Tunney. The exhibition takes place in the Sao Bento Metro Station in Porto and features three films projected from a central timber tower in the station's busy concourse. It runs until 20th Oct 2017, and is supported by Culture Ireland, Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, and the Portuguese Embassy of Ireland..

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Upcoming Exhibition in Sao Bento Metro Station, Porto

The four week exhibition in the Porto Sao Bento metro station starting in September 2017 will show the architectural work of McCullough Mulvin Architects in Dublin to a Portuguese and international audience. The main concourse of Sao Bento, located beside the main Porto railway station, is a much-used exhibition space in the city. It is appropriate that work from an Irish practice should be shown in Porto. The two countries share extraordinary similarities of location in Europe - the Atlantic, large neighbours to the East. Their differences are ones of latitude not longitude. 

The exhibition illustrates McCullough Mulvin’s architecture in Ireland and in India through seven current projects; buildings exploring the fertile relationship of architecture, nature and time - architecture like natural form in tense or loose geometries, or new adhering to old like moss to stones. The exhibition will be through the medium of film within and around a timber pavilion in the main concourse. It comprises three films that are about current architectural projects - completed, in design evolution, one under construction. Two are of urban scale - Thapar University in the Indian Punjab and Trinity College in Dublin, where the practice has built three major projects in an historic university. Another two projects are palimpsests, partly new and partly old - St Mary’s Medieval Mile Museum in Kilkenny and the Military Archives project in Dublin, where new elements are like accretions on older ones. And three relate specifically to ideas of ‘constructed’ geographies - Kishoge School in west Dublin, the Beaufort Laboratory in Cork and Waterford Fire Station in Waterford City.

All seen from one point, the films present the projects simultaneously but from different angles. They are about different architectural perceptions - as ideas, as realities, and somewhere between - perception enhanced by the monstrous capacity of drones. Some of the buildings cannot be fully understood without their ‘place’, others construct one, all are influenced by template of nature at the largest scale and the smallest scale of rocks, fissures, moss.


The exhibition will open on September 26th and run for four weeks. McCullough Mulvin Architects will deliver a lecture towards the close of the exhibition in the Sao Bento Metro Station. 

Click here to view full details.

McCullough Mulvin features on TC Cuadernos

Spanish publishing house TC Cuadernos feature an introduction to McCullough Mulvin Architects on their recent blog. The article is a spanish translation of an essay by Niall McCullough contained within the McCullough Mulvin Monograph, published by TC Cuadernos in 2015. 

Escribir sobre tu propio trabajo es todo un reto; resulta difícil realizar juicios sobre el mismo cuando estás tan cerca y no tiene sentido limitarse a listar los atributos de los proyectos; tienes que hacerlo sobre las ideas presentes en tu trabajo – y no siempre son manifiestas o están articuladas. En la práctica, tienes que amar el construir edificios para poder continuar; tienes que creer que el próximo proyecto – no el último – va a ser el mejor; presupone la urgencia de apostar por algo; tiene que ver con experimentar – no con desarrollar lo que ya sabes.

Los temas de Cuadernos están todos relacionados con crear y alterar paisajes, donde encontramos cubiertas protectoras sobre mundos dispares – algunas plegadas a modo de versiones de los propios paisajes en los que se encuentran, otras dentadas y erosionadas, proyectos de intervención – experimentos en adición y yuxtaposición, o proyectos dublineses, que son el resultado de una búsqueda evolutiva sobre la idea de lugar. Son polos de interés; las ideas fluyen desde y entre ellos; algunos proyectos incorporan más de un tema, pero están todos en ese mundo. Las ideas son recurrentes; estructuras volumétricas como las de Beaufort yWaterford Fire Station (las maniobras de los camiones de bomberos, la agitación del agua) son espacial y formalmente distintos, una pieza retorcida de material encerrandoel espacio bajo una cubierta plegada como el mar que lo cubre, pero están relacionados el uno con el otro en la manera en que están pensados y se conectan con esquemas como el de Tubbercurry – interesado en reflejar las formas naturales. Aunque es formalmente diverso, el trabajo busca una unidad de intención, una unidad de origen.

Los proyectos son principalmente pequeños edificios públicos, lugares para el arte, para la educación, bibliotecas para la lectura y el pensamiento; no son menos importantes en cuanto a la calidad del espacio publico interior en un clima húmedo; el corazón de la biblioteca de Waterford o el interior de Rush son plazas urbanas con envolvente de madera llenas de entrantes y salientes que extienden las ciudades en las que se encuentran. Estos espacios interiores mantienen una medida y atenta relación con lo que los rodea; tienes que encontrar tu camino de acceso; cuando los proyectos – como en el caso del Señor College – mantienen las entradas originales de los edificios existentes, el esquema se convierte en una ruta entre la puerta y el nuevo espacio, el corazón legible del proyecto. ...

Click here to read the full article.

St Mary's Church Opens Tuesday the 28th of February

St Mary’s Church in High Street Kilkenny is finally to be open to the public as a museum on the 28th of February 2017. The project is unique in Ireland in its relationship between new and old fabric- part of McCullough Mulvin’s ongoing exploration the relationship between the past and contemporary architecture. The scheme involved the complete conservation of an important medieval church with the addition of significant interventions. Conservation work was based on careful survey and analysis, allowing the retention of existing fabric in almost every instance; the dramatic early 17th century roof structure was pieced together; a gap in the ceiling was retained to expose it in the finished work. The floor was renewed as Kilkenny limestone plane turning and rising to form ramps and balustrades. In its original form, St Mary’s had acquired depth and complexity in monuments and nave aisles, elements which were later shorn off, the aisles removed, the chancel demolished- a shape expanding and contracting, already through a violent cycle of change. The project intention was to restore the church as a museum, retaining some of the 20th century interventions, and re-constructing the North aisle and chancel to the original plan, but a different materiality – timber and lead- using the base of the original walls in an non-interventive way. The new elements restore something of the spatial complexity of the original building, and release a dynamic series of fixed and moving views through windows, screens and old arches. The project is about observation, looking at and looking through, being still and moving- a gaze and meditation on the past. The  new chancel room overlooks the town, re-establishing its dominant form in the urban landscape; the space beneath it becomes a tomb-filled undercroft observed through a glazed floor; the room is visible through the original East window from the nave; rooflights in the aisles are directed down through the floor to levels of archaeology below. The project was completed by McCullough Mulvin with Carrig Conservation, O'Connor Sutton Cronin structural engineers, Brendan Merry and Partners QS, MMA Environmental M and E for Kilkenny County Council with Duggan Brothers and Kilkenny Archaeology in November 2016; the subsequent fit-out was designed separately by Bright 3D.