This new showroom & warehouse for an Irish tile wholesaler attempts to re-imagine motorway industrial architecture. The design uses standard materials expressed in an inventive way, steel fins expressing the façade rhythm, and contrasting colors to let the building be the brand.
Drawing inspiration from motorway noise barriers where vertical rhythms appear to shift as a driver passes, this is an architecture intended to be viewed and understood at 100m/hr, the typical point of view of the building’s observer driving along the N3 motorway.
The simple charcoal rectangular form has its cladding pulled back to reveal a series of fins expressing the depth of the construction behind.
These fins, formed from standard 203 PFC sections, create a rhythm that conceals and reveals the deliberately contrasting colors as the driver passes, creating an illusion that the building changes color with movement.
Following Venturi Scott Brown Izenour’s seminal ‘Learning from Las Vegas’, the client branding is painted onto the steel cladding with the color linked into a pressed cill that underlines the fin feature. The building becomes the sign.
Overall the façade is broken into simple ratios, balancing the charcoal form with the vibrant client branding colors. The fins are nine meters high and one meter apart. This rhythm continues throughout the façade developing in simple ratios of 2:1, 3:1, and 9:1, allowing for an engaging and well balanced visual effect.
The deliberately simple form reflects the economic & structural constraints of the building type with a design that uses standard materials and steel spans, expressed in an inventive way. Internally, the industrial power-floated screeds are left exposed against a palate of steel and tile, while the walls and soffits are painted in dark charcoal to match the exterior, emphasizing the products on display in this decorated shed.
Photography by Ste Murray
Project by De Siún Architects