AQSO Boilerhouse studios, physical model, night view, light inside, aluminium, balsa wood, square, chimney, perforated facade

Ballymun is a residential area in Northern Dublin. Its regeneration plan has gradually led to the introduction of a new urban model with low-density residential typologies such as parks, leisure facilities and other infrastructures which have increased the significance of the neighbourhood within Dublin’s urban fabric.

The Boilerhouse Studios intend to provide Ballymun with a character of its own and with a new cultural centre. In this way, the project (which could be regarded almost as a “surgical operation”) brings to light a renovated public building, while respecting an underlying notion of social inclusion.

AQSO Boilerhouse studios, facade, artist studio, roof-light, windows and big openings, double-height space, zenithal light

The transformation of the pre-existing building transcends the physical perimeter of the site thanks to the insertion of a plaza at its heart. This public space substantially opens the surrounding cultural centre towards the city, and projects its exhibitions and studios to an increasingly urban context.

The plaza grows and slips into the surrounding space through a series of ramps and surfaces, in an amphitheatrical atmosphere. Here, visitors and residents can gather, enjoy street performances, and taste an incessant show of thriving urban life. One of the plaza’s ramps climbs up to the boiler house roof, allowing a street access to a suggestive open-air exhibition area. The project chose to maintain the chimney of the old boiler house as a part of the heritage of Ballymun, and as a distinctive feature of its skyline.

The project’s scheme follows a pattern that goes from a more public western area to a more private eastern one. This fact is quite evident from the façade composition, where size and density of the openings follow a gradual change, following the program inside. In this way, the three blocks of the complex keep their own, individual identity, but at the same time remain integrated thanks to a common design.