Visual - Centre for Contemporary Art & the George Bernard Shaw Theatre
The contemporary art gallery and 350-seat theatre is located in the centre of Carlow on an open-lawned quadrangle bounded by St Patricks College and the Carlow Cathedral. Conceived as an assembly of translucent volumes; the largest gallery sits at the centre of the plan, with the smaller galleries and the theatre spiralling around. The exhibition spaces are arranged in a sequence that heightens the dramatic contrast between the dark sculpted baroque quality of the textured concrete linking spaces, and the sublime white simplicity of the main formal galleries.
Deeply coffered concrete ceilings alternately compress and release the spatial sequence, defining areas of repose and spatial transition. The duality between art gallery and theatre, and the dilemma of a blank faced arts building, are turned to advantage by wrapping the whole structure in an opaque glass skin. During the day soft muted daylight is transmitted to the interior galleries, while at night the building is transformed to an illuminated glowing theatre.