irish world academy of music and dance, republic of ireland


University of Limerick


IWAoMD Building Design Concept


In march 2004 the University of Limerick commissioned a two stage international design competition through the RIAI for the design of the Irish World of Performing Arts Village. In July 2004 DLB Cordier Architect's submission was selected from 95 entries.


The Urban Design Concept


The concept is to mirror the existing alignment- South of the river, between the Foundation Building Foyer and Plassey Mill Tower with a new alignment between the IWAoMD Foyer and Plassey Mill Tower. The Living Bridge is used as the third side of this structuring triangle.


The Architectural Concept


The concept for the IWAoMD is to bring the performing spaces at the heart of the building and to wrap studios, practice rooms and support accommodation around it like monastic buildings around a cloister. The copper clad circular “Drum theatre” dominates the elevations and provides the focal point while the full height foyer connects the circulation cloister, performance spaces and the arrival Piazza outside to create an urban spatial sequence. The external elevations convey the visual concept of settlement by breaking-up the roof line and organizing them on plan in the form of a dynamic Ceíli for cultural and spiritual reference. In architectural terms, the Piazza elevation connects activities with the community on and off Campus, through the design of the external walls. These promote interaction through visibility and, in some instances, audibility. This theme is further enhanced by providing terraces from which to perform and entertain the street and Piazza below. Transparency by day is maintained at night making the Academy of Music and Dance a marker and a destination.


The environmental design addresses sustainability by providing natural ventilation and cooling to both Performance spaces through independent underground plenum chambers and chimneys.


This building aims to provide the healthy environment conducive to inspirational insight, experimentation and interaction with outward views for orientation and time awareness.


The building which totals around 4,800 m2 began on site on 3 may 2008 and was completed on 5 February 2010.


Photographs by Ros Kavanagh: Portobello Studios