The Ussher Library in Trinity College Dublin is the winning design of the international competition. The competition brief was to provide a large new library as well as a single entrance to the three humanities libraries on the campus. This connection is made under a podium to form a rich library complex for the college.

Project Name: Ussher Library, Trinity College Dublin
Design Team:
Architect: McCullough Mulvin Architects and KMD
Civil & Structural Engineer: O’Connor Sutton Cronin
Mechanical & Electrical Engineer: Homan O’Brien & Associates
Quantity Surveyor: Brendan Merry & Partners
Fire Consultants: Michael Slattery & Associates
Contractors: Michael McNamara & Co.
Photography: Christian Richters

Ussher Library By Mccullough Mulvin Architects

The building provides 750 undergraduate reader places and space for 350,00 volumes in a state-of-the-art library building with exposed board-marked concrete and granite finishes. The concept establishes three prismatic sculptural blocks on a podium set North-South across the site, engaging simultaneously with the city street lines and the college grid. The two longer blocks are connected by an atrium.

Ussher Library By Mccullough Mulvin Architects

The taller is closed and stone-clad: dedicated to book storage (a tower of books). The other, lower, more dynamically shaped in stone and glass, contains reading rooms with views over College Park. The third block is for a Book Conservation Laboratory.

Ussher Library By Mccullough Mulvin Architects

Each block is served by a core at one end which anchors the plan and is designed as a solid planar element. The line of stone cladding is carried through into the atrium in timber paneling. The atrium glazing is perceived as a separate shard-like element, while the Conservation Block roof is an origami-like folded plane of glass and metal.

By Mccullough Mulvin Architects

Mccullough Mulvin Architects:

McCullough Mulvin Architects is a Dublin-based practice working both internationally and in Ireland. Their projects express a deeply held ethos that one of the purposes of architecture is to explore place and time in context, whether that context is a city, a site, or an existing building. Their understanding of and respect for history is evident in a portfolio of work rich with story, and in a bravely contemporary approach to shape-making.

Valerie Mulvin and Niall McCullough founded McCullough Mulvin Architects in 1986, then they have been joined by fellow directors Ruth O’Herlihy in 2006, and by Corán O’Connor and Ronan O’Connor in 2017. Together with other long-term collaborators, they work at a range of scales on public and civic projects including cultural buildings, libraries, healthcare, schools, and University buildings, with a particular focus on place-making, context, and innovative conservation. McCullough Mulvin’s approach is thoughtful, their way of building applicable in any culture and society. Combining contemporary insight with highly developed conservation skills, the practice creates innovative projects that fully integrate old buildings with the new architecture.

The practice is highly collaborative and open in its dialogues; clients form part of the team with the end result reflecting dynamic exchange. McCullough Mulvin extends their practice through research, writing, and films, exploring the themes that inform their work.

The studio’s work has been recognized both nationally and internationally, with award-winning buildings.


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