Ballyfermot Youth Centre / The Base

Ballyfermot, Dublin 12 

McGarry Ní Éanaigh Architects

The site is located along the southern edge of a well-used public park but with poor visibility from the main street.This project consolidates the public domain by making a new public space with these two buildings and marking a new pedestrian entrance to the park.The leisure centre is a large -scaled public building for all ages while the youth centre is for a teenage audience with a more intensely packed brief.The moves in the leisure centre are sweeping and operate at the scale of the large sports hall whereas in the youth centre the challenge to understand its character found resonance in smaller scale interventions both spatially and with bespoke furniture/installation design. In the leisure centre the site levels allow the civic space, main entrance hall, community rooms, pool hall to be at the level of Blackditch Road, while the sports hall, changing rooms, gym and five a side are all at the level of the park. The cross section defines the leisure building, resolving issues of orientation and programme - sunlight in the changing area but controlled in the pool, access to pitches etc. The sports hall reads as an open -topped elevated concrete box overlapping the entrance foyer. This elevated heavy concrete box puts deliberate spatial pressure on the pool hall, creating a vertical slot of space with northern and southern glazed elements.The foyer, which contains the main staircase, has a long glazed screen to the pool hall bringing light deep into the building.The youth centre which also has a crèche, steps along its length as the site slopes up to the west, offsetting the crèche from the youth centre and also creating a sheltered protected crèche garden The youth centre is focused on a south facing café/ chill out space with other activities such as theatre, art, computer graphics, counselling and a state of the art recording studio distributed in section though also connected to this hub of youthful energy, talent and activity.