Virus Reference Laboratory, UCD

Project: Virus Reference Laboratory, University College Dublin
Completion Date: 2003
Client: University College Dublin
Project Value: €1.1m
Services Provided: Full civil and structural engineering
Project Size: 340 m2

Project Description

Affiliated with the University College Dublin’s Department of Medical Microbiology, the Virus Reference Lab (VRL) provides a national diagnostic virology service for Ireland, as well as undertaking research and issuing regular publications. The new building slots into a tight site between the main VRL laboratory & Ardmore House on the upper part of the campus. Though small in scale, the project plays a significant role in consolidating the relationship between the central buildings and the surrounding landscape, and, in particular, the lake directly below it. With its lightweight skin and simple geometry, the new building forms an expressive contrast with its more leaden brick and stone clad campus counterparts. Facades are wrapped in a taut skin of interlocking and overlapping panels of glass and Western red cedar which project and recede from the main surface plane. The cedar will weather to a delicate silvery grey.  Quite different in shape and materials, the pavilion was designed to both support and challenge the ideas of architecture in landscape that permeated the original campus design in the 1960’s. The plan is simple: open space with a coloured core like a cell nucleus which can be glimpsed in the round as one moves around the building. Additional height to parapets gives it a cube-like proportional muscularity: the elevations are clad in a skin of abstract interlocking and overlapping shapes in which glazing and timber panels project and recede from the main surface.

Garland was responsible for the management and evaluation of site investigation, detailed planning and design, preparation of tender documents, tender evalutaion, cost control, site supervision, claims adjudication, final account negotiation and provision of as-constructed drawings.

The building won Downes Medal from Architectural Association of Ireland Awards 2004.

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