Bottom-up tension systems with bespoke bracketry
The Kildare Civic Offices, or Áras Chill Dara, is no ordinary government building. It won a Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) European Architecture award, described as setting an example for large scale sustainable building.
Lying on a slightly inclined ground plane, its form gently rises from the street level which is actually a ‚civic garden‘, a public green space and a fundamental design feature which responded to the sustainability led brief.
11,500 square metres and eight floors of office space are navigated by means of a gentle ramp in the building’s atrium, which links together two blocks to create a single building. By using this method, not only do able-bodied and disabled users experience the building in the same way, but it promotes the flow of both people and air. The ramped space is an open space which staff and visitors move through, creating a nexus of interaction.
As part of the Architects’ commitment to sustainability, a glazed curtain wall wraps the entire building, transforming from solid elements to 12 metre full height glazing, according to location. In addition to this volume of glass allowing for natural lighting and heating of the interior, the building also makes use of solar thermal collectors to heat water. Both features contribute to a major reduction in energy costs.
Guthrie Douglas were introduced to the project as specialists in bespoke shading solutions, where many others had been unable to respond to the brief for a full 12 metre drop shading solution. We adapted the TESS™ 200 system, a bottom up tensioned fabric blind with motorised barrels. The systems were installed on the incline and each served the full 12 metre façade height. The fabric is kept perfectly straight by the precision of torsion spring concealed in each system’s barrel, which then disappears completely when not in use.
Read about another project where Guthrie Douglas worked with designers to provide heat and glare protection for a glass façade.