Oakpark

This agricultural research institution in Co. Carlow provides laboratory and office accommodation within the magnificent landscaped grounds of an eighteenth century country house. The new facility takes the form of an irregular two-story block of cellular rooms off a central rooflit space; each room is used for reflection, writing or experiment,with meeting space and a library at one end.

The laboratory building explores the cellular nature of its experimental subject matter- the natural support and augmentation of plant life. Its plan has the structure of a hollow plant stem- the natural order coinciding with the order of research, meeting and mutual learning. The four elevations develop a rhythmic skin of opes and recesses, without overt rhetoric, like a decaying natural organism. 

The structure is made simply using the most traditional and economic Irish construction methods, blockwork and plaster render. Standing in the designed Capability Brown landscape, the new building can see and be seen from the original house; it assumes a role as a garden pavilion to be seen from its windows and across the green landscape.