Dun Laoghaire Library
MAR. 23, 2023
Why we loved working on it, and why Frank McDonald Irish Times envoironmental correspondent loves it too “
The building is organised in two distinct parts. Along Haigh Terrace is a regular sequence of intimate rooms, workshops, meeting spaces and reading rooms, with windows that address the street. By contrast, the park side has voluminous spaces such as a lounge and main lending floor above, each with long windows and views to the park.
Exceptionally well-built by Sisk, DLR Lexicon is also a model of environmentally conscious design, with most of its spaces naturally ventilated. Stale air is drawn out and fresh air drawn in through “chimneys” capped by cowls on the roof that evoke the funnels on ships – quite unintentionally, according to architect David Naessens.
Years ago, when Stena Line was planning to bring its high-speed HSS ferry into Dún Laoghaire, it had to commission an environmental impact statement (EIS) on the new ferry terminal, which included the visual impact of such a large ship on the amenities of the harbour. The HSS is gone, but the new library (which also had an EIS) should last for 100 years. It has two entrances, one at the lower level from The Metals and the main one at the opposite end, some 200m from George’s Street. Whichever way you enter, it’s clear that no expense was spared on in-situ cast concrete walls, oak panelling (solid and veneered), granite-paved floors, bespoke furniture and superb bookcases by Truwood.
Generous spaces for children and teenagers include well-equipped reading rooms as well as workplaces with stools arranged around large tables, or attached to a white-walled art gallery on one of the lower floors. But it will be the generally older users of a reference library on the top floor who will enjoy the most panoramic views