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History & Memory: A Mariculture Research Library

Part 1 Project 2013
Jonathan Connerney
Queen's University Belfast UK
Upon arrival to the site it became clear that the urban fabric and natural environment were tied creating a symbiotic relationship in which building blocked and framed views. Rather then trying to compete with this ostentatious site it was more appropriate to correlate it with its surrounding environment, which was itself under treat from encroaching modernist apartments. The site itself is located on the North Coast in the town of Portrush on the east peninsula. It is positioned in between an Anglican church and a modern line of apartment blocks, with direct views out onto the Irish Sea.

It is this relation of the church, and the proposed Mari-culture research library that appeared to be the most interesting. This is in regards to the dominance of the church and the memory of its relationship with knowledge. The Church since the medieval ages in Ireland was the chief source of knowledge. It housed and stored the first written books and provided a place of education. It is here where we see the transformation of churches into centres of learning, and it is a position in which the church has held until relatively recently.

The building itself is therefore seen as an extension of the church, transforming and ecclesiastical site again into a place of knowledge. Keeping with the tradition of the ecclesiastical design, the proposed archive is submerged into site, hidden like knowledge always was, and yet emerging from the encapsulating ground like a sacred artifact. It is furthermore positioned in line with the transept of the church to act as a hypothetical third aisle. But unlike the dominance of the church it appears frailer being clad in larch, paying homage to traditional early church construction.

The memory of what once remained; the Victorian house is reflected in the positioning of the main building. It stands as its former resident had breaking the modern typology of the street and giving ascendancy to the neighboring church. A dominant perpendicular façade runs adjacent to the main street with a set back entrance allowing the passers by to reflect on what had once been.

Jonathan Connerney


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