Carricklawn, Co. Wexford, Ireland
Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland / Best Commercial Building - Commended
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Under the government policy of decentralisation, the Irish Department of the Environment was relocated to the town of Wexford, some 130km south of Dublin city.
The brief for a new headquarter building for the Department sought an excellent working environment within an economic, efficient building which would be an exemplar of sustainable design in every respect. The design was also required to maximise the potential and address the challenges of the steeply sloping, scenic site.
The curved plan form emerges from a desire to symbolise an embracing department open to and welcoming the public of whose environment they are guardian.
The design comprises two curved wings, each capable of expansion. These are connected by a glazed landscaped atrium space suitable for public performances, exhibitions and receptions, as well as acting as the assembly space for the conference area. The generosity of the public spaces belies a highly efficient layout achieving a net:gross ratio in excess of 80%.
Sustainable design is carried through every aspect of the building, from the specification of low-energy, recycled and recyclable materials to the wood pellet boiler, solar collectors, rainwater harvesting and water efficient sanitary fittings.
Solar shading, natural ventilation, exposed concrete soffits and automated night-time cooling obviate the need for mechanical cooling of office spaces. Green roofs, ecologically sensitive landscaping, permeable grassed parking attenuate stormwater runoff and encourage bio-diversity. All combine as part of a holistic vision which attests to the Department’s unique role as a leader in environmentally sustainable design.
15th April 2011 - The Department of the Environment Offices in Wexford was a finalist at The Green Building Awards. The submission entry can be downloaded here