At the Glucksman Gallery in Cork you have said that you had to work very quickly and with only an outline brief. And then there’s the satisfaction of going through a sketch design that begins to develop its own set of rules, where at a certain point you think, ‘OK, it’s not up to me to think this up any more. The gallery is placed high among the trees and appears to be tethered to the walkway below. Sometimes it’s better to let it collect itself a little bit. Well, maybe then the building should be free within those trees, as if it is turning or something.’ And that’s where this idea came from about upriver and downriver and back to the college. Their brief to us was, ‘We want a big building’. Then we will lift up into the trees.’ And then we thought, ‘How will we measure the space between the trees? Maybe through accumulated experience you have a feeling of knowing about something a little bit quicker. Now it’s only up to me to follow the directions that are coming out of the thing itself.’
The design project
Project: Sean O’Casey Community Centre
Location: Dublin, Ireland Architect: O’Donnell +Tuomey Architects Date: 2008
View of entrance foyer and courtyard garden. So we were participatory in the selection of the specific siting of the building. Deadlines! Is there a connection between the free thought of the daydream or creative reverie and the architect’s need to also make rapid decisions? This is slightly precedent to having it solved but you know that you’ve got it. We don’t think slowly. So we said, ‘We have to build it here because this is tarmac and everything else is grass. The invitation was: ‘Build us a cultural building that will become a gateway between town and gown.’
I don’t think that I’m being in any way disingenuous when I say that I think that it’s only a re-reading of the site. We won’t disturb any living creatures. And in its programme and in its size. far right:
View from the river. I think that the take that we made on it is that this is a jump and this is interesting. We make jumps but certainly sometimes you can be hanging around waiting for that click to happen. We kind of came around the back of them a few times and said, ‘Well, pretty much everything that we understand about what you want this building to be belongs on the ground. We moved so fast on it that actually it became very much led by its architectural idea. This was inspired by an image from a Seamus Heaney poem about a celestial ship snagged on an alter rail. But I must say, I still enjoy the idea of having this thing in front of me that I’m only looking at sideways. Project: Glucksman Gallery, University College Location: Cork, Ireland Architect: O’Donnell +Tuomey Architects Date: 2004
View to river with gallery above.