In their new student housing project, Walshe's Yard, Urban Agency has placed incredible importance on blending the building into its context while also providing a high quality of living for students. Located in Carlow, Ireland, the building is situated on the threshold between the looser urban periphery and the denser historic center of the town. The 3800 square meter project will include 125 bedspaces arranged into 32 “student houses” of either 3, 6, or 8 students, plus graduate studios on the top floor.
In a central location between the River Burrin and the old jail, Walshe's Yard will serve as a landmark and key entrance to Carlow’s town center. Referencing local historic defense structures populating the rivers’ edges, such as Carlow Castle and Black Castle, the project is envisioned as a monolithic mass.
While its scale has been designed to integrate into the broader town context, its materiality references more modest domestic buildings in the area. The exterior is proposed to be a pebbledash render, left natural, with stones sourced from the nearby river, to give the building a sense of permanence and monumental character.
The student apartments are organized around a large courtyard that faces the river. An archway links the courtyard to the street while providing views of the water as well. A large oculus in the south facade contains the main vertical circulation and also acts as a public space with views to Hanover Court and the river.