Sallynoggin Community and Senior Centre, Dún Laoghaire

DLR Architects + A2 Architects

This community & senior centre extends an existing smaller community centre with the following accommodation: a new general-purpose hall to accommodate such events as dances, bingo sessions, after-school homework clubs, low-impact sports activities and community celebrations, a kitchenette, a universal access toilet, an administrator’s office, a glazed link to the existing community centre, 6no. universal access car parking spaces, bicycle parking and a generous south-facing terrace onto a community garden space where allotments are proposed in the medium term.

The architecture of the centre is simple yet refined in form and materiality. Borrowing from the neighbouring housing development that overlooks the centre, the form is singular in its rendered blockwork exterior and its pitched roof of natural slate. A number of elaborations are made to this expression in order to introduce moments of civility – a fair-faced concrete wall with sand-blasted lettering behind a low planter announces the community and senior centre to visitors and guests as one enters the site; a generous entrance canopy and a concrete bench allow for citizens to rest and chat on entering or leaving the centre; two roof gutters are extended beyond the gable roof eaves in order to allow rainwater to be collected at the base of the rain chain, thereby emphasising a responsibility towards water use.

On entering the hall through an entrance lobby the hall is simple and sparse with precise attention to detail: the hall roof volume is opened up to the ridge allowing for the full volume of the hall to be enjoyed; painted timber wainscotting of vertical boards line the hall from the floor up to eaves height; the pitched ceiling surfaces internally are lined with wood wool panelling to absorb sound and noise; windows are kept simple throughout in order to avail of natural light throughout the day; artificial lighting is hung in two simple suspended tracks finally the hall floor is sprung with beech flooring to deal with dances and low-impact sports events;

The centre successfully achieves NZEB standard – the nearly zero or very low amount of energy required is covered to a very significant extent by energy from renewable sources, including energy from renewable sources produced on-site.