- Structural Engineer : Nicholas O'Dwyer
- Client : Grangegorman Development Agency
- Project Architects : Scullion Architects, PLUS Architecture
- City : Dublin
- Country : Ireland
Text description provided by the architects. The Printmaking Workshop is located along the pedestrianized St Brendan’s Way, where the fringe of the new TU Dublin Grangegorman Campus meets the industrial landscape of the former Broadstone Railway Station and Bus Depot.
The Printmaking Workshop was at first potentially destined to be provided in modular cabins, as part of an impartial and unbiased options appraisal undertaken for all capital projects on campus. During the early stages of our research, our team demonstrated better value for money with a purpose-built, well-lit, robust, and flexible solution also offering a multitude of future uses. Notwithstanding the economic benefits, a fit-for-purpose environment would offer significant gains for the end-users, the University campus, and a significant social dividend for the local communities.
A short delivery program demanded forms of construction that were readily available, commonplace, simple to build, and familiar to the industry to ensure competitive interest from a range of Contractors at the small to medium scale.
The structure comprises repetitive steel frame trusses on columns using standard steel section sizes enveloped in built-up layers of low-cost thin metal liner sheets, thick mineral wool insulation, and corrugated steel cladding normally used on rapid-build industrial buildings. A focus on an economy of means and attention to the external edges of the building lends it precision and refinement not normally associated with these building types. Internally we developed construction details that were limited in number, unsophisticated but purposeful.
Subtle spatial characters such as the truss bottom chords, caryatid-like UC columns, moveable walls on castors, and a fully glazed Admin annex to the south produce nodal points and overlapping room-like divisions within a simple enclosure. The Workshop was not intended as a representation or pastiche of industrial space. Instead, we were searching for a place of a specific character, a place for production, a place to be robustly engaged with and altered.
The saw-tooth roof form is orientated optimally, with three fully glazed north lights and south-facing sloped roofs hosting a full array of 40 photovoltaic panels on the southernmost bay. Under the three central bays are the large naturally lit main workshop for non-chemical processes, whilst acid etching and aquatinting, requiring controlled environments, take place in smaller technical rooms adjoining the workshop to the north and south.
The distinctive building edges itself onto the pedestrian St Brendan’s Way opposite the entrance to the East Quad which links the campus to Broadstone Luas stop. This prominent location allows street life to quite literally slice through university life. From St Brendan’s Way, full height windows allow views deep into the Workshop. It means that the hands-on nature of the student and staff work — increasingly rare in the current tilt to virtual means of communication — is on show constantly.