Dún Laoghaire LexIcon Library and Cultural Centre has won both the Overall Excellence Award and the Sustainability Award in the 2015 Schueco Excellence Awards. Organised by Schueco UK in conjunction with RIBA Journal, these awards aim to recognise the very best in the design and installation of Schueco systems.The winning €29.5m, 6,327 m2 building, designed by Carr Cotter Naessens Architects, was described by the judging panel as ‘a beautifully made, beautifully crafted building that looks like it’ll be here for a long time. An excellent piece of architecture’.
The Library and Cultural Centre makes extensive use of Schueco systems. It includes FW 50+ SG structural glazing and a variety of Schueco AWS windows including AWS 70.HI motorised inward-opening vents. Steel sections utilise the Schueco Jansen VISS façade system.
The placing of, and view-points through, the glazed fenestration provides un-impeded views of Dublin bay from Howth through to Sandycove and the Irish Sea while the play of natural light on internal surfaces provides a welcoming environment for users of the library. The glazing’s thermal, solar and light transmission properties have been carefully selected to reduce heating and cooling demands arising from external climatic conditions.
Mainly naturally ventilated with the help of exposed thermal mass, solar shading and high spaces achieved through inter-connecting levels leading up to the vaulted upper floor with the unique ‘V’ beams structure and opening roof-lights. The building uses wind assisted mechanical ventilation systems (through the multi-directional wind-cowls) to maintain conditions within the library when external weather conditions are not conducive to opening windows. These systems also maintain air quality levels when the library is full of people which is a daily occurrence such is its popularity. Heat is provided using wood-chip biomass fuel which makes a significant reduction in CO2 emissions.
The concrete frame contains up to 50% recovered material, reducing the amount of Portland cement required in its construction.
A key overall design priority of the client, Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council, was longevity so the architects built in a minimum design life of 60 years for components and 100 years for the building structure.
Officially opened in April, the Dun Laoghaire Lexicon Library and Cultural Centre is now fully operational. Main contractor for the project was John Sisk and Sons, while Billings Design Associates were the consultants for the main façade.
The winners in the other award categories were: the Turnmill office building, Clerkenwell (Best Commercial Building); Library of Birmingham (Best Cultural Building); JW3 Community Centre, north London (Best Education Building); Dorset Shepherds Bush Hotel, London (Best Refurbishment Project); Calvin Street, Shoreditch (Best Residential Development); Reid Building, Glasgow (Best Steel Project) and The National Graphene Institute, Manchester (Lakesmere Group – Best Specialist Contractor).
The 2015 judging panel comprised: Hugh Pearman (chairman; editor of RIBA Journal and architecture critic for The Sunday Times); Paul Monaghan (director of Allford Hall Monaghan Morris); Joanna Bacon (managing partner of Allies and Morrison) and José Hernàndes-Gil (associate at Duggan Morris).