Áras Chill Dara is the administrative headquarters of Co. Kildare. This project is formed around the civic garden which slowly inclines from the street to the building entrance, its sloped surface making the deep garden visible from the street.
The two bars that form the civic offices enclose and are a continuation of the civic garden. Building and park no longer read as two distinct elements but rather combine to create an outdoor room.
The ramps that connect the bars are a transitional space with loose environmental control that allow the park/amphitheatre to visually flow through, while internally the ramps serve as the primary circulation space in the building creating a clear navigation route.
The building provides office accommodation Kildare County Council and also includes meeting rooms and a council chamber. It consists of a pair of tilted glazed four-storey blocks linked by glazed walkways.
The blocks are only twelve metres wide to encourage natural ventilation and day-lighting. The building has an overall floor area of around 12500 m² and is orientated along a north-south axis to maximise east-west exposure.
Maximum permanent occupancy of the building is approximately 400 with, in addition, an unspecified number of visitors on most days. Hours of operation are between 9:00 – 17:00 with a small amount of start up and shut down occupancy.
Space heating is provided by high efficiency gas-fired boilers supplying a compensated radiator circuit. Local zone control is obtained using two-port valves.
The boilers also supply domestic hot water, augmented by 60 m² of roof-based solar thermal collectors. The building is predominantly naturally ventilated with some local mechanical ventilation of toilets, food preparation areas and office equipment rooms.
The council chamber, meeting rooms subject to intermittent high occupancy and IT rooms, are provided with mechanical ventilation with comfort cooling supplied by an air-cooled chiller linked to low-level distribution. No spaces are fully air-conditioned.
Control of heating and ventilation is provided by a building management system (BMS). Excessive solar gain is avoided by limiting the glazed areas on the east and west outer façades to 40% and 45% respectively, with controllable shading devices.
Location:Naas, Co. Kildare, Ireland
Structural|Civil:Michael Punch & Partners
Building Services: Buro Happold
QS:Boyd & Creed
Facade Engineering: RFR
IT, Security, Fire, Acoustics: Buro Happold
Landscape: Heneghan Peng Architects, Mitchell + Associates
Specialist Lighting:Bartenbach Lichlabor
Client:Kildare County Council
Photographs:Courtesy of Heneghan Peng architects
Article by Marco Rinaldi