AQSO, arquitectos office

Boilerhouse studios .  Dublin

gracias a AQSO, arquitectos office

The project is located in Dublin, in an area under a urban regeneration process. Ballymun’s regeneration plan has gradually seen the introduction of a new town, parks, leisure facilities and other physical infrastructure which will increase the significance of Ballymun within Dublin’s city fabric. Although investment efforts have improved urban quality in Ballymun, the Boilerhouse studios aim to provide something that is still missing in Ballymun, the project intends to create an identity that will give the town au unique sense of character and a new spirit. The Boilerhouse studios will be a public facility that will be the reference center of the area. The scheme intends to project a new spirit in Ballymun, for the Boilerhouse studios to be well known in Ireland and Europe,
and thus add a further dimension to the development of Ballymun. The Boilerhouse studios will become a new cultural icon and destination, a force that encompasses social difference in a central point of interest and significance. In this way, the project endeavors to bring a higher quality of living while harnessing the underlying notion of social inclusion.
The project is conceptualized as undertaking a ‘surgical operation’ in the Ballymun neighborhood, by introducing a cultural and artistic program. The Boilerhouse site currently holds uniqueness, a point of reference in Ballymun, with its chimney giving it a characteristic form

A unique building deserves a unique set of activities. The old Boilerhouse will be transformed to house a new program. However, transformation of the building must be done sensitively with consideration to the existing fabric. This transformation will keep unique elements from the existing infrastructure in order to illuminate the distinctive qualities of the new additional buildings.
In addition to this, the transformation of the building and its program will transcend beyond the boundaries of the site, as it will be an important component in providing the cultural identity and experience for the residents in Ballymun. The agenda of the project is to create links between Ballymun and Dublin city centre, between Ballymun and other national and international cultural communities. The project seeks to delve into the core of the urban problem and resolve it using small but precise interventions.
In addition to the brief’s requirements, our proposal inserts an urban plaza into the site. The plaza opens up the program around it, and positions the exhibitions, artists’ studios at a more civic and urban orientated level. Historically, plazas are the place for trade, for encounter, for chance interaction. Plazas have strong positive implications for social interaction, and these implications are carried through to the Boilerhouse site. The proposed plaza will create a centre for the town, and a place where cultural exchanges can occur between artists, visitors and residents.
The plaza steps and slips into a series of ramps and surfaces to allow an amphitheater atmosphere where visitors and residents can gather, meeting, watch a street performance, observe passersby and enjoy public urban life. One side of the plaza surface tilts up to the Boilerhouse roof, allowing street access to the open air exhibition area. The dynamic geometry of the external plaza contrasts with the geometry of the surrounding blocks to create a complex and lively circulation pattern across which users can enjoy the public plaza.
The project retains the chimney of the old Boilerhouse to maintain heritage and identity amongst Ballymun’s skyline. Program and new architectural elements are inserted to create a space where users can experience the interaction between new and old. The Boilerhouse chimney becomes a torch, adding a playful new element in the Ballymun skyline at night; it becomes a point of reference and a beacon, thus attracting more people and activities.

Buildings pivot around and look into the central plaza and embrace this centre in an architectural gesture. The positioning of the program across the site is based on a gradient scale from most public along the west to most private along the east. Thus there is a progression from workshop to non- residential studios to residential studios intended for short term use to residential studios for long term and finally to apartments. The layout is in response to the site, while also providing the gradient for the façade treatment where opening size and density reveal information about the internal program.
A new façade is proposed for the Boilerhouse external walls, which merges with the facades of the other two blocks to form a seamless image for the frontage. The idea is that the façade is a result of the morphing between a ‘Boolean difference’ and ‘Boolean union’ in the integration between transparency and opacity. Gradient of openings undergo a series of deformations to allow the skin of the 3 blocks to link whilst also containing their individual identity.
The studio block is elevated to allow smooth transition from pedestrian path into the plaza. In this way, the building creates a presence along the street, to make visitors aware that this is a building with a public function and to attract their attention into the heart of the building. The non-residential studios are located on the North West corner, just under the bridge. There are 2 levels, 2 studios in each level. There is a connection to the workshop and the exhibition area in the ground floor.

Project name: Ramp up the ‘mun
Location: Dublin, Ireland
Architects: AQSO, arquitectos office
Design team: Luis Aguirre Manso,
Sergio Blanco Fernández,
James Tendayi Matsuku,
Juan José Cruz Martínez.
Collaborators: Dinah Zhang, Yang Shi, Yihang Zhang.
Project area: Site area: 1760 sqm,

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