Main entrance and new civic space for Ennis
Public concourse with reception and waiting area
The Council Chamber
Clare County Council
The commission for the new headquarters for Clare County Council was won in a competition in 2004.
The site, a long established base for Clare County Council, raises the challenge of inserting a large structure into this low rise, low density context. Set back from New Road, the dramatic shape of the stone clad Council Chamber and the sharp inclined south wall of the main office block frame the front landscaped plaza forming a new civic space for Ennis.
The building takes the form of a 4-storey spine block of office accommodation running north/south in the centre of the site, at the furthest point from the surrounding houses. To the west and perpendicular to the spine, three pavilions sit in a landscaped park with gardens separating each block. The building reduces in height and mass as it stretches towards the dense existing tree lined boundaries, respecting the privacy and amenity of the adjoining residences.
The new headquarters for Clare County Council provide 8,600m2 of offices for ca. 300 staff, configured around a public concourse, as well as meeting rooms, staff canteen, a laboratory, Council Chamber and 320 car parking spaces.
The public concourse generates the heart of the scheme, accommodating the public interface with the various departments, and is traversed by bridges linking the open workspaces above. The atrium is also essential to the natural ventilation strategy, utilizing stack effect and wind pressure differentials for ventilation and space cooling purposes.
Our proposal attempts to reinterpret some of the rough character of the unique Burren landscape, incorporating the weighty architecture of dolmens on a surface of sharp irregular limestone with intermittent splashes of green vegetation.
Clare County Council/Kermane Ltd
Ennis, Co. Clare