Ballyroan Library / Box Architecture

  • 21 Mar 2013
  • Museums and Libraries Selected Works
© Paul Tierney

Architects: Box Architecture
Location: Dublin,
Architect In Charge: Gary Mongey
Lighting Design: Wink Lighting
Area: 1,510 sqm
Year: 2013
Photographs: Paul Tierney

© Paul Tierney

The library was built in the 1980’s and served the community well over the past decades. However the library became outdated, in need of upgrading and became too small to deal with the collection of resources available to the community for reference or borrowing.  After much consideration the existing building was demolished and rebuilt, doubling the size of the original library. A complete rebuild was deemed quicker, less disruptive, economic and a better environmentally sustainable solution.

© Paul Tierney

The new building is part single and part two storey, two new entrances are provided, one to the north, accessed from Orchardstown Avenue, and one to the south, accessed via Orchardstown Villas, giving access into a new double height internal street. This new internal street will be used for large exhibitions, book borrowing and returns, readings, gatherings and to allow unrestricted access to information in a range formats, sources. The lower section of the northern two storey element houses the main book and reading facilities for adults and children.

A timber lining denotes the public elements and snakes in and out of these areas clearly defining public and private areas. The timber elements, within the exhibition area in particular, can be opened and closed to adapt to the user’s needs. A staff office is provided at ground floor for ease of access and monitoring. Two seminar rooms can be divided into separate entities of varying sizes allowing for flexibility but also allows for internet access for either singular use or in a class arrangement to maximize computer usage. Toilet facilities and other associated services elements are located in this area.

© Paul Tierney

On the other side of the internal street a large reading room is accessed through a series of concrete fins and a change in the ceiling heights denotes a quieter area. The layout of furniture can be arranged to suit the demographics of the users with loose furniture on casters positioned in varying layouts to suit varying needs. The reading room is open plan, lit from above by means of roof lights with more intimate reading areas off the main space in the form of oriel windows – some singular and others larger overlooking the adjoining  context,  these can be used as places to study, sit or read. A children’s area is located to the south of the ground floor with children’s furniture, books and computers as well as a storytelling area, this space can be closed off completely if required. The entire building is Wi-Fi enabled and study areas are spread throughout

© Paul Tierney

The main reading room.

© Paul Tierney

Access to the first floor is by a public staircase or by lift. Upstairs is a ‘Memory Room’ holding heritage and local studies resources, which will serve as a research space for all. The main staff facilities and book storage are located on this level. The car park to the south was remodeled to become a shared surface. This area with planted trees and benches, allows one to sit and read. The area between the road and the oriel windows is landscaped to provide a buffer zone between the building and road.  The new Library is provides a rich spatial experience to users from all parts of the local community, broadening the scope of the library beyond the provision of book lending to that of a community learning and information resource suitable for the 21st century citizen.

Site Plan

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* Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
Cite: "Ballyroan Library / Box Architecture" 21 Mar 2013. ArchDaily. Accessed 29 May 2015. <>