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.  

McCullough Mulvin Architects feature on Culture fox TV segment about Dublin's Buildings

Nathalie Weadick, Director of the Irish Architecture Foundation, introduces the buildings and architects that help tell the story of Dublin politics and culture. From its Georgian library and residential squares to its new canal and seaside developments, Dublin has become a focus for international as well as Irish architects, developing innovative and sensitive public and corporate buildings.

Priniting House Square receives Planning Permission

Printing House Square.

Printing House Square will be built on Pearse Street to provide 250 student rooms over a Health and Sports Centre for Trinity College. The project is bedded in its Dublin location– yet is a contemporary interpretation of that environment, working to make a new vernacular for the city. The courtyard plan can be seen as a strategic extension to the sequence of Trinity squares, yet it also acts as a public city square and will serve as a public gateway between the College and the city, bringing increased life to this relatively dead section of Pearse Street.

The form is like a granite rock with an undulating stone roof folded and shaped, reflecting the mountains in distant view to the South and, at close quarters a grouping of ordinary Georgian roofs glimpsed in the city. It feels like a solid mass externally excavated and penetrated by opes, routes and ways through. Its materiality reflects its form and location- a boardmarked concrete working plinth supporting a granite upper world- which descends to ground floor to encase it externally, revealing the concrete core at key moments.

The site is at several junctions- the beginning of Pearse Street opening towards Grand Canal Dock, the junction of Trinity and the wider city; the building respond to both environments and bridges between them. It also establishes a strong formal and material relationship between contemporary architecture and the surrounding historic fabric, in particular, the character of the old Printing House within the College boundary. The architecture folds down to provide a more intimate context around the Printing House; adjacent gables do not have windows; they will be moulded planes setting its Classical temple architecture in a rocky landscape setting, allowing it to retain precedence in the view from New Square and the steps of the Berkeley Library. 

McCullough Mulvin Architects Thapar University project featured on TC Cuadernos Blog

Recently the first monograph TC Cuadernos dedicated to the work of an Irish team: McCullough Mulvin Architects was published. We covered part of the extensive career of this team, one of the most interesting of the current scene in Ireland. Their work has focused mainly on projects In Ireland which we classified into three groups according to certain characteristics and common criteria. This time we want to present one of their current projects which is already under construction, Thapar University campus extension in Patiala. McCullough Mulvin are developing this project in association with Design Plus Associates Delhi. The extension marks a large leap for the practice in terms of territory and scale.

For this project they have chosen to consider the campus as part of a landscape, a continuum in defining an evocative geography of the surrounding nature of the area while defining a route through the university from one extreme to another. The projects suggestive images show us some characteristics of previous work, a ground plane transformed with large open podium opening volumes and generating complex and highly experiential, rich spaces. The project includes student residences, public facilities, learning centre, library, Computer Science faculty and lecture block. The architecture is tied in turn to the concept of a garden which connects the different areas of the campus and will be extended to several buildings. We hope to soon offer new features of this interesting adventure in India and the first images of the progress of the works. In the meantime congratulations to Valerie, Niall, Ruth and the rest of the team. 

Ricardo Meri

The original blog is available here in Spanish.

Open House Dublin

The new Military Archives in Dublin is a very particular 2016 project.The Irish Army has a fascinating and extensive archive built up over the years since the foundation of the State; it includes Army records, depositions concerning the War of Independence, maps and films-

The new building is located in Cathal Brugha Barracks in Rathmines very close to the last house that Michael Collins occupied in Dublin before he went to his death in West Cork. It is made up of two sections- one old and one new- representing at once the tradition and the progressive nature of the Army- and a good example of radical re-use of existing buildings for new uses. The old section is one half of an old stone and brick hospital block dating from the early years of the barracks;this has been turned this on its end and a new entrance opened in the gable leading to a new public library and reading room lined out in timber; the rest is made up of offices and a Conservation laboratory. The new section matches the old in some of its character, extending the architecture of gables, but is made of brick- there is a dramatic folded courtyard between the two. The new building, partially recessed in the ground, comprises two large archive rooms with computer controlled rolling racking at both levels, built to the highest international standards of Archive storage.

If you would like to get a closer look at this building, we will be running tours in association with Irish Architecture Foundation for Open House Dublin. A number of our other projects including Temple Bar Gallery and Studios, HIdden Garden, Blackrock Further Education Institute and the Abbey Theatre will be opening their doors to the public while the Irish Architecture Foundation will be screening 3 short films by McCullough Mulvin Architects in their newly designed HQ. Further details can be found here on the Open House Website.

Culture Night - September 16th 2016

Culture Night is fast approaching, don't miss your chance to see some of our work up close on Friday the 16th of September. There'll be free activities taking place at the Irish Architecture Foundation, Wood Quay Venue, Temple Bar Gallery and Studios, The Abbey, The Douglas Hyde Gallery, Trinity Long Room Hub and The Military Archives. For full listings please see the Culture Night Website

McCullough Mulvin Architects take their solo exhibition to Brno, Czech Republic

After a two-month run at the 1926 House of Art in Ostrava, McCullough Mulvin Architects are taking their solo exhibition to The Gallery of Architecture in Brno.Titled Geology/Biology – The laboratory of Nature, the exhibition features recent work of the practice, models and three short films dealing with the subject of buildings and the phenomenon of nature,  including the first images of their new project in Patiala, Punjab India for Thapar University. The exhibition opens to the public on 6th September and is supported by Culture Ireland.

The Irish Architecture Foundation presents ‘Notations’

Notations is a collection of eight individual books that together form a folio of drawings, notes, collages, photographs and appropriated images taken from the notebooks of architects who use them as both reflective and reflexive forms of thinking.

It includes work by Tom dePaor, Michael Doherty, Grafton Architects, Seamus Lennon, McCullough Mulvin, O’Donnell + Tuomey and Nigel Peake. It is available to buy here, on The Irish Architecture Foundation website

McCullough Mulvin Architects honoured with major international award.

WATERFORD FIRE STATION, a dramatic new work of contemporary architecture outside Waterford City designed by McCullough Mulvin Architects has just won a major design award in Italy- the PLAN award for 2016 presented at a ceremony in Venice on May 25th. The same building- designed like a natural landscape with a folded roof plane -has also been nominated for a German Design Award 2017 by the prestigious German Design Council in Frankfurt

This recognition reflects the growing profile of McCullough Mulvin Architects outside Ireland and particularly in Continental Europe; the practice is also the subject of a current exhibition of their work running in the famous 1926 House of Art in Ostrava in the Czech Republic. Titled Geology/Biology – The laboratory of Nature- the exhibition includes projects, models and films about projects contained in a plywood space in the main exhibition room. The exhibition displays recent work of the practice as well as the first images of their groundbreaking new project in Patiala, Punjab India for Thapar University.

Working as contemporary architects of place with a unique approach to history, landscape and cultural contexts,  McCullough Mulvin are increasingly finding their place on a world stage.