Category Archives: News

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December 2021

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A2 close this year with our shortlisted two-stage competition entry for Grangegorman FOCAS Research Hub for TU Dublin.

Compact in form thereby minimising embodied carbon, close attention was paid to space planning to optimise orientation for different uses. The façade was environmentally responsive aimed at reducing energy demand and consumption and by extension operational carbon. Each elevation responded to its environment including solar gain and overshadowing from its surroundings. Daylight was maximised as both beneficial to health and wellbeing as well as energy use. Solar gains were minimised through use of shading for glazed elements and balancing glazed and solid elements in the façade. The planting strategy provided a degree of shading, both acoustic and thermal, as well as natural air cleansing.

The rigour of both plan and cross section enabled differing configurations on each floor, to meet the current and future needs of FOCAS, and presented opportunities for external garden terraces that enhanced the health and well-being of users and softened and animated the architecture as they moved playfully around the form to capitalise on available views. Through passive design measures building services systems were minimised.

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November 2021

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The setting out of the grid of Limerick’s Georgian Newtown Pery – south- west to northeast – established the orientation of our shortlisted competition proposal for a pavilion for Ted Russell Park in Limerick City. Its precise placement in Ted Russell Park is anchored in a clearing of one tree along a double row of mature trees on the original embankment prior to Fr. Condell Road being added in the 1980s. The location speaks of the passing of time, of the forces of man against nature, and of the power of the River Shannon.

The material we chose is Limerick Georgian Brick, which is finite. It will not be made again. Therefore we need to value it as a precious commodity. Ted Russell Park sits between Newtown Pery and the Brick Fields of Coonagh, one of the sources of brick for Georgian Limerick. This soft, subtle, multi-coloured brick is unfortunately readily available from the various construction sites in Limerick’s Georgian Core, notably Project Opera. Given its availability, we wished to mark this moment in Limerick’s history with a pavilion that speaks to a material history. The curving forms – sometimes made to be prow-like while at other times made to be accommodating for solitude or performance – acknowledge the great cellars and doorways of Limerick, and indeed Limerick’s greatest urban formation, The Crescent.

We proposed to make an eroded brick form that sits as an erratic on the old embankment the splits the park. It is eroded to allow for two curving brick benches – one that faces the southwest, the other northeast in order to maximise interaction with its curving form. Two vertical walls offer further opportunity to speak to our initial concerns – one wall that is given a rat trap bond to allow for plants and wildlife to grow, the other is given a recessed brick mark every 500mm to mark out the predicted rising sea levels over the coming 100 years. The form is then filled with alluvial soil from the riverbank and it is planted with reeds and river planting. It is also our intention to demonstrate that this proposal can be constructed to a zero-carbon footprint, given that all the raw materials are all to be salvaged and sourced locally.

This proposal attempted to speak to the vulnerability of our time, our city fabric, our river, and indeed our park benches and our material culture. We need to look after all of our concerns simultaneously. It was hoped that our pavilion would both shine a light on each concern and chart a more responsible way forward into the vulnerable future of the great city of Limerick.

Beechville

September 2021

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Red oxide corrugated sheeting nears completion to pyramidal roof of Beechville Gate Lodge, Co. Meath. An external covered terrace beneath the roof is made to each of the four corners of the lodge.

Cellars, Limerick

August 2021

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A2 are invited by Open House Limerick to contribute two 30-minute films to the forthcoming Open House Limerick Festival produced by Shane Serrano of Crude Media – one on St. Mary’s Girls Primary School in King’s Island and the other on Limerick City’s physical underbelly – the cellars, vaults and culverts of Newtown Pery. The Festival will be launching in late October 2021.

Beechville

July 2021

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The timber tented shell of Beechville Gate Lodge, Co. Meath is completed. A central square oculus is placed over a circular void to the mezzanine level over a cruciform plan layout beneath.

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June 2021

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Five up-lit pinwheel tables made of oriented strand board and painted in a multi-coloured triangular pattern makes the stage for ‘Jellyburbs’ as part of South and Proud festival for young children aged 3 years old to 6 years old in Southill Limerick City. Children are invited to reimagine the future of public space and living space in Southill through jelly. The festival was sponsored by The Gaff, Limerick and The Arts Council. Opalescent perspex kindly sponsored by GBM Limerick. Manufacture by Michael McLaughlin of Limodo. Big thanks to Dáire English, Anna Fagan and David Cooney for their energy and enthusiasm throughout the installation and childrens’ workshops.

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May 2021

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Hehir’s Cottage, a byre dwelling on Scattery Island, Co. Clare is completed for the OPW. The rubble stone cottages are shelter-coated with lime and lime-washed. Red oxide corrugated roofing and fairfaced insitu concrete barges are renewed.

House of Commons

April 2021

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‘House of Commons’, published in The Irish Times, is an invited response to the Outdoor Public Space Scheme from the Arts Department, offers up to €250,000 each to local authorities to create spaces where outdoor events can take place. Our proposal chooses to spread the budget across up to 20 sites across each local authority so that the message is diffused as widely as possible into communities. Our response is a call to hands, arms and legs for local authorities and communities to mutually think about performance – environmental performance as well as community performance. The proposed setting is any green communal space in a housing estate. By not cutting grass in the communal area of a housing estate this spring and summer, the community can create clearings of varying sizes and uses by then mowing shapes and paths. Paired with this larger scale of selective grass clearing, we propose a compact, cost-effective pod named ‘House of Commons’ to be located at the edge of grass clearing and accessible to all in the housing estate. Entrusted by the local authority to the local community, a 4metre x 4metre timber pod in four equal quadrants of varying heights. The pod offers a combination of uses and functions: a community bench area at 450mm height, a raised planter box at 900mm height, composting lidded bins for organic waste / cut grass at 1500mm height topped with a beehive and lastly a sedum-roofed tool shed powered by a solar panel that is linked to a storage battery to charge a community-owned strimming machine and lawnmower at 2100mm in height.

Turoe

March 2021

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A2 are delighted to be appointed by The National Monuments of Ireland as architects for the proposed enclosure for the Turoe Stone, Co. Galway. Dating from the period 100B.C to 100 A.D., the Turoe Stone is a glacial erratic (H 1.2m) shaped into a flattened cylinder
with a domed top. Its upper body is covered with a well-preserved quadripartite arrangement of three-plane curvilinear ornament of La Tène style and bounded below by a horizontal band of incised step-pattern. The proposed glazed enclosure is sheltered by a table-like corten steel structure of three piers supporting a circular roof disc with an oculus at its centre.