Through the use of materials that mimic the colors in the landscape and track the passage of time, the GMIT College blends with the rural context of Letterfrack, in Western Ireland.The scheme includes buildings that belonged to an old reformatory and adds new ones like the machine hall, which stands out with a unique form. Because of the budget restrictions and the difficult access to the site, the work was developed in different stages, and certain elements of the finish were separately contracted to local craftsmen. The first element to go up was a concrete podium spanning the uneveness of the terrain and protecting the building from ground moisture. Later, the woodworkers produced the next layer, connecting the columns that stem from the base with the upper wood structure. The result is a tectonic framework where the different pieces in standard sizes are assembled to work as a whole. The structural shell, functioning neither as an arch nor as a beam, is carefully designed from scale models to optimize performance and minimize material use. Inspired in the image of a tree that bends when winds are strong, the building departs from the symmetry of usual sheds and faces north for optimal lighting.

Obra Work

GMIT Furniture College Letterfrack

Cliente Client

Connemara West Centre

Arquitectos Architects


Consultores Consultants

Christopher Southgate and Associates (estructura structure); MacArdle McSweeney Associates (instalaciones M&E engineers); JDS Construction Ltd (entramado de madera estructural structural timber frame)

Contratista Contractor

Purcell Construction

Superficie construida Built-up area

4,015 m²

Presupuesto Budget

€4.7 M + VAT

Fotos Photos

Dennis Gilbert/VIEW; Ros Kavanagh