WEXFORD COUNTY COUNCIL HEADQUARTERSWexford
The project was won in an international competition organised by the RIAI in 2006.
The building sits on a sloping site on the outer fringes of Wexford town, in South East Ireland, with fine views to the River Slaney Estuary and the Blackstairs Mountains. It brings together the services and departments of Wexford County Council that, until now, have been housed separately within the centre of the town.
The building is informed by the dense, rich townscape of Wexford town and the distinctively flat, empty, landscape of the River Slaney estuary.
The new headquarters gives identity to the collective endeavour of the council as a unified organisation while giving individual expression to the separate departments and their unique activities. The accommodation is laid out as a series of six discrete blocks; each block houses key services and individual departments. The blocks are gathered around a large central space, a 'civic forum', which gives access to all of the council facilities.
An outer layer of glass wraps around the blocks and acts as the outer skin of a double facade. This provides protection on an exposed site but also regulates the interior temperature through the control of air around the building; cooling the building in the summer and creating an insulating layer during the winter. The glass facade is treated uniformly with structurally bonded low iron glass on anodized aluminium mullions to create a sheer envelope that gives the building a single, coherent identity and scale appropriate to its civic status.
This approach allows the interior spaces to find appropriate form, varied character and atmosphere while the outer form deals independently with scale and identity.
The central space is informed by the grain and character of Wexford town and is supported by a series of courtyards filled with planting and serene pools of still water. These spaces place social experience at the heart of the building and allow the public realm to pervade the whole building at ground floor creating a generous and legible experience for public usage.
Internally floors and walls of the 'civic forum' are clad in Irish blue limestone, creating a sculpted interior volume with a calm, refined atmosphere.
Stepped terraces and landscaped gardens ameliorate the sloped site, elevating the building and also creating an entrance landscape and civic setting for the building.