McGarry NiEanaigh Architects

Michael McGarry Architects

Ratoath College Phases 1 and 2, Ratoath County Meath, Ireland

Principal Investigator
Prof Michael McGarry - McGarry Ní Éanaigh Architects
Ratoath College is the first significant public institution in this community 30 kilometers north of Dublin and the first phase accommodates 850 second level pupils was completed in 2008. The site is in a landscape of partially completed housing estates and has two points of access – one (to the north) now available and the second (to the east) following on the proposed Ratoath Outer Relief Road. The articulation of the form defines entrances, social areas, external spaces and responds to the presence of two clusters of mature trees on site – one cluster now contained within the south facing garden and the second fixing the south west corner of the building. The articulation is in both plan and section and produces a silhouette, that establishes an appropriate scale contrasting with the neighbouring landscape of two-storey houses. Although non-orthogonal in form, the building provides the standard Department of Education and Science room layouts and uses the circulation and socials space to resolve geometries. The central entrance leads into the GP area – the heart of the school and the focus of the circulation systems on both floors. The GP area is a south facing volume looking into the enclosed garden. There are significant volumes within the building where the overall form reads – the volumes are critical as counterpoints to the horizontal organisation and provide vertical and diagonal visual connections.
Design of the second phase commenced in 2012 to bring the school population up to 1,300 pupils.
2007 Opus Architecture and Construction Awards - Highly Commended
2008 Architectural Association of Ireland - Selected for Exhibition
2009 RIBA - Short listed International Award
2009 Imagine Inspirational School Design Compendium
2010 Irish Nomination to OECD Compendium of Exemplary Educational Facilities
Reviews and Publications:
2010 World Architecture News
2009 Perspective Vol 18/No 6
2009 Plan - Art of Architecture and Design
2008 Architecture Ireland, Dublin Volume 236
2007 World Architecture News
2008 Ratoath College, McGarry NÍ Éanaigh Architects ISBN 9780955914102
Michael McGarry Architects

Ballyfermot Sport Leisure and Youth Centre, LeFanu Park, Blackditch Road, Ballyfermot, Dublin 10

Principal Investigator

Prof Michael McGarry - McGarry Ní Éanaigh Architects

The primary aim for this €18.2 million development was to consolidate the public domain placing two buildings around a new public space and forming a new entrance into the park in an economically disadvantaged suburb of Dublin. The well-used park is bordered by the main street building’s ragged backside on one edge with low inner city suburban houses on the other three. Both the park and the existing disused pool had poor visibility from main street. Different expectations between the two buildings determined a large scaled public building for all ages in the leisure centre with the youth centre being directed at a teenage audience with a more intensely packed brief. The gestures in the leisure centre are sweeping, operating at the scale of a sports hall; whereas, the youth centre has a smaller scale design. In the leisure centre (4,100 sqm), the site levels allow the civic space, entrances and pool hall to be at the level of Blackditch Road; while the sports hall, fitness gym and pitches are all at the level of Le Fanu Park. The resulting cross section defines the leisure building – resolving issues of orientation, light, space and programme. The youth centre building (1,100 sqm) is more intimate, particular. The design intent uses colour + furniture to determine character. The building steps with the site offsetting a crèche at one end from the youth facilities. The youth centre activities (recording studio, art, multi-media lab and mezzanine counselling rooms) are focused on a south facing café.
2009 RIAI Irish Architecture Awards - Best Leisure Building
2009 Special Mention AAI Awards for Excellence in Architecture
Reviews and Publications:
2010/11 RIAI Irish Architecture Review, Dublin Volume 1
2009 AAI New Irish Architecture Cork Volume 24
2009 Architecture Ireland, Dublin Volume 245
2009 A+D Magazine, Brussels Issue No.32
2009 A10 Magazine, Amsterdam Issue 26, March April 2009
2009 PLAN Magazine, Dublin March 2009
2009 PLAN Irish Architecture, Dublin Review 2009
2008 The Irish Times, Dublin November 27th
2008 The Architects Journal, London Volume 228, November 13th
2009 ballyfermot leisure centre and the base youth centre McGarry Ní Éanaigh, ISBN 9780955914119