A stunning new waterside library in Ireland makes a big impression

This new library and cultural centre in Dún Laoghaire, Ireland is the result of an international competition. Cork-based Carr Cotter & Naessens Architects were selected for their generous offer of new community facilities and a new public space at the heart of the town, one that leads visitors in a natural progression down to the water’s edge. Set to open its doors to the public in December, the library is oriented around a central ‘living room’, which is bathed in natural light from a large glazed facade that faces the harbour as well as overhead skylights running the length of the buildings.

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Clad in a mixture of granite and brick, the library is a voluminous concrete shell that dramatically rises up to face the sea. A distinct new landmark for the town, the library is joined by a brand new public park, stepped to respond to changing levels as the town descends to the sea. Dun Laoghaire was transformed in the early 19th century by a number of ambitious infrastructure projects. Since that time, most development in the town has been commercial or residential. The Dún Laoghaire Rathdown Library and Cultural Centre represents the first significant piece of civic infrastructure in the town since 1900. Good things come to those who wait, we say.