The Source Arts Centre and Library, Thurles, County Tipperary

Architect: McCullough Mulvin Architects
Main contractor: Tom Hayes
Fabricator: Kilkenny Aluminium
Awards: Best Public and Cultural Building, Irish Architecture Awards; Architectural Association of Ireland (AAI) Award
Products: Visible grid curtain walling, top hung FXi65 casement windows

Situated on the banks of the River Suir, The Source Arts Centre and Library in Thurles, is a €10m landmark riverside complex, which has provided the local community with a flexible, contemporary and multi-functional building.

A dynamic folding roof envelopes the building, zinc-clad planes define the different functions, and sheer panes of glass created from Technal’s aluminium visible grid curtain walling, face the river. The high level of glazing allows natural light to flood into the centre, creating a sense of airiness and a bright, pleasant space for staff and visitors.

The curtain walling, which was used on all four elevations, features glass to glass corners where it changes direction to follow the bend in the river. It also projects outwards and returns in at angles of up to 15 degrees.

Technal’s system allowed the architects to create a ‘random rhythm’ for the façade and an irregular pattern, which almost has the appearance of stonework. This was achieved by breaking the glass walls down into smaller sections, giving an unusual appearance and an alternative to conventional grid curtain walling.

The distinctive pattern in the curtain walling was formed by using full length transoms with horizontal mullions in between. The glazed units span each floor level and were staggered to create the abstract style and a strong identity for the main façade that overlooks the river.

The glazing was finished in a dramatic black polyester powder coating. High performance FXi65 casement windows in a top hung open-out configuration were inserted into the curtain walling to allow the temperature of the building to be controlled by the occupants. The units were glazed in Pilkington clear solar control glass.