SINCE last October when Tullamore Town Council provided Kilbride Plaza free of charge to Tullamore Community Arts Centre Limited, to develop the much anticipated centre for the town, work on the progressing the build has been moving steadily.
The Centre will be located adjacent to Tullamore Dew Heritage Centre, Offaly Historical Society, alongside the Grand Canal, and will include a 250 seat auditorium, dedicated art gallery, cafe/bar and a series of rehearsal/meeting rooms. It is anticipated that the development will cost in the region of €3 million, of which €2 million is being funded by European Access II grants. It is intended that the Centre will be a distinctive municipal building of contemporary architecture with good use of natural materials and light, as well as environmentally sound in its build and daily use.
The Centre will be a place where the whole community can participate in a wide range of creative and cultural activities so the centre will need to be designed to be flexible in accommodating these.
In February an international architectural competition for the design of the Centre was launched and managed by the Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland (RIAI), as the Centre is being part-funded by European grants the competition must be open to architects worldwide. In total, 119 entries were received from architects worldwide. The competition is conducted anonymously, where the jury is unaware of the identity of any of the participants.
The jury comprises of - Pat Gallagher, County Manager, Offaly County Council; Brian Gunning, Chairman, Tullamore Musical Society; Marguerite Murphy, County Architect, Fingal County Council; Declan Harvey, Councillor, Tullamore Town Council; Bernadette Solon, Architect, Westmeath County Council; Sinead O’Reilly, Arts Officer, Offaly County Council and Eddie Conroy, County Architect, South Dublin County Council.
The jury met in the RIAI last week where they examined all the entries and choose a final shortlist. The shortlisted architects have now been commissioned to produce full drawings for final assessment. A team of four technical assessors will examine these full drawings and compile a report on each one for consideration by the jury. On June 22 the jury will meet in Aras an Chontae, Tullamore to make a final selection of the winning entry which will then be submitted to the Board of Tullamore Community Arts Centre Ltd for approval. It is anticipated that the winning entry will be announced in early July and will go on public display shortly afterwards.