Cahir is one of the most important heritage towns in […]
Cahir is one of the most important heritage towns in Co. Tipperary. Centred around the Castle, which is one of the largest castles in Ireland, situated on an island in the River Suir, built 1142 by Conor O’Brien, Prince of Thomond. The town is built around the castle, which also contains the Swiss Cottage, a cotage orne designed by the Architect Royal John Nash.
The site for the facility is part of the complex containing the tourist office and town car park and is the starting point for self-guided tours on three heritage walks.
The existing toilet facility was outdated and deemed not fit for purpose. The brief for the new facility included for individual toilet units, coin operated and with electronically-controlled opening hours and monitoring. The plan provides for four unisex toilets and one accessible toilet. The site is located between the existing tourist office car park and the street buildings. The rhomboid plan reflects the circulation patterns around the site, which includes a throughway towards the town car park. The massing of the building is based on the spatial demands for servicing, including high level water storage tanks.
The design approach to the building was discussed at length in the office. Whilst we were conscious of the sensitive nature of the setting being in a premier heritage town, it should appear of its time whilst integrating with the existing building environment. To achieve this, mid-grey Tegral Equitone Linea fibre-cement panels were chosen for the walls with flat Tegral Equitone Textura fibre-cement panels over proprietary roof sheeting for the roof area. The intention was to present the building as one single grey volume, reflecting the colour and massing of the limestone of which the castle and most of Cahir is constructed. The orthogonal and diagonal joints in the cladding establish lines of force and break up the scale of the building into manageable planes.
The extent of landscaping was restricted to the construction site. Two-tone concrete paving was chosen with strips reflecting the lines of force and shape of the building. It is hoped that in time the development will encourage improvements to the urban realm including the upgrading of surfaces, street furniture and the rationalisation of signage.