The renovation of Donegal Town Garda Station by Rhatigan Architects has won two categories at the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI) Architecture Awards
The renovation of a Donegal garda station has won two categories at the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI) Architecture Awards.
The renovation and retention of Donegal Town garda station by Rhatigan Architects won the National Award for the best Cultural / Public Building and also the best Sustainability Project.
The RIAI Awards celebrate the achievements of Irish architecture and recognise the positive impact that quality architecture has on society. The awards had almost 150 entries, with Donegal Garda Station the sole double award-winning project.
The original Garda Station building, built in the early 20th century on a prominent site at the entrance to Donegal Town, was in poor state of repair and in need of upgrade. The brief for this civic project called for a refurbishment of existing facilities to improve operations and accessibility throughout, as well as providing new accommodation to enhance the presence of An Gardai Siochana locally.
The character of the existing façade to Quay Street has been retained with a new terrazzo rendered shop front around the main building entrance added to enhance the overall aesthetic and make the entrance more identifiable. Rhatigan Architects have delivered an innovative building design for the new three storey build accommodation to the rear of the Garda Station - providing an open and transparent interface with the public whilst maintaining necessary security provisions. The upper floors of the façade are glazed, with a bespoke steel mesh cladding providing solar shade and visual screening. A glazed link is used to articulate the connection between the existing and new structures.
The new extension is a prominent feature on the corner site, enhancing the buildings civic presence in the town. The glass façades provide a high degree of transparency, offering the public insight to activities within the station, with the degree of transparency changing depending on the angle of view, the time of day or the light conditions. The glass façades are specified with solar control, which together with the brisolei system provide great natural light and passive solar heat for the internal working environment whilst removing potential for overheating.
The materials utilised are a direct response to the local coastal context and the nature and typology of the building. The rendered façade to the existing building has been given a new lease of life, whilst the rear extension is by contrast more modern, creating a new aesthetic using glass, steel and brick. The dark coloured brick plinth accommodates the holding cells and intimate consultation rooms - grounding the building. The upper floors, by contrast, are designed to appear lightweight and open. The steel grating system that forms the brisolei and protection to the glazed façades is an agricultural material that is commonly employed locally.
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