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Clasac Traditional Arts Centre, Clontarf

Deaton Lysaght Architects were invited to design Clasaċ Traditional Arts Centre as a regional resource centre for the promotion and development of the traditional arts for Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann. The centre promotes Irish music, song and dance associated with Ireland’s rich cultural heritage, providing facilities for performance and teaching, rehearsal, recreation and research.

It entertains and educates both domestic and overseas visitors.  The site on the Alfie Byrne Road in Clontarf was donated by Dublin City Council and is on landfill reclaimed from Dublin Bay. The project was completed in 2007. The centre consists of two distinct forms; the angular theatre and the geometric ancillary building, while a semi-sunken amphitheatre for informal outdoor performance is the focus of the outdoor space. The main space of the 320-seat theatre is designed as four pivoting, stepped segments to make it a more informal and dynamic space and allow sub-division for smaller performances. This also allows for flexibility of seating arrangements for banqueting as well as seating in rows. The theatre is externally clad with silver aluminium panels with double height windows and cedar cladding in the joints between the segments. These sequentially reveal themselves on moving past the building. A semi-sunken bar and teach ceoil form the base of the theatre building expressed externally in grey render. The teach ceoil allows for more intimate performances and set dancing. The geometric ancillary wing accommodates offices and archive, classrooms, dressing rooms, recording studio, kitchen and ancillary. The main entrance is at the junction with the theatre building. This long rectilinear wing acts as a buffer between the theatre and the railway track behind. The materials used to make the building create a juxtaposition between modern and more natural materials; the modern silver aluminium and grey render contrast with the more natural hardwood windows, cedar cladding and granite cladding. This theme is also expressed in the interior design, with stone tiled and oak floors contrasting with smooth white plaster walls and glass and stainless-steel balustrades.