The project is within the walls of Cathal Brugha Barracks in Rathmines, Dublin – formerly Portobello Barracks, constructed between 1810 and 1815. The Storage Building was commissioned by the army the following year to provide locker and shower facilities for men and women working in the barracks; separate entrances and facilities had to be provided within an original block with an additional entrance and storage block constructed to the rere within one of the narrower streets of the double loaded courtyard.
Parsons Bookshop was at Baggot Street Bridge for 40 years from the 1940s; the quintessential dark bookshop of the city. Two shops at ground level were needed - views to canal and city were key. The canal façade, transformed by new penetrations above and between existing windows, created a wall of views playing on the composition of the existing hood-mould arched windows and the new windows, set in a vertical pattern. The new shopfront became a folding metal veil of shutters. Inside, authentic finishes were brought up, new openings trimmed with steel made a continuum from one space to another.
Our approach to making new facilities for the Global Brain Health Institute began with the end users, gaining an understanding of the brief, their work and research into Dementia and Brain Health, and developing this building to make a distinctive place to support this. Not only will this be an environment to foster creative thinking around this critical area of research for the future : what has captured our imagination is the potential for the project to tell the story of the research, to mirror the operation of the brain.
A circular central space has been created within a carefully integrated set of linked, timber-lined rooms and spaces, naturally daylit and opening onto a landscaped setting. The circular space has an interactive ceiling – an innovative piece of lighting design which responds to the behaviour of participants by graphically showing, with a dense LED lighting array, the effect of certain actions on the molecular structure of the brain, describing the degenerative process of dementia, the positive ways the degenerative process can be slowed, and facilitating early detection and prevention.