The overall plan form establishes a public bicycle parking space and a new pedestrian connection between the central carpark site and the main street of Portlaoise, whilst attempting to encourage a more general attitude idling, reflection, and respite. The exposed nature of the project creates a form of theatre where both the architectural characters and the users contribute to the performance. Careful lighting by night contributes to the stealth nature of the black surfaces and allows the woven steel mesh and lighting column to be transformed into striking silhouettes. The transparency of the vertically cantilevered, etched glass map is pronounced through its illuminated hovering in the evening light.
The architectural strategy set out was to establish a number of crafted and haptic design elements, constructed from a defined palette of materials of pigmented concrete, untreated iroko, stainless steel, woven stainless steel mesh, and toughened glass. These were chosen for their robustness and ability to weather slowly and consistently on site. These architectural characters were also to form a precise matrix on the site where element’s motivate an adjacency between one another and form a controlled tapestry of mnemonic events.
The ground pattern is composed by a series of materials, carvings and incisions; the perimeter of the island is edged in black kerbing stones, which is abutted by grass, fine pebble or a black or white paving slab. This creates the overall ordering of the surface manoeuvre whereby these materials are laid out and await a secondary gesture. This secondary treatment comes in the form of subsequent move where the paving slabs form an overlapping and keyed tapestry which is in turn cut into by two weaving lines of pebble and by twisting and plicating the grass itself to form a weaving mound behind the longest bench and the upper end of the island which abuts the woven mesh screen.
Design : Jason O’Shaughnessy