Woodstock House Arts & Events Centre

Mairead Laura Belcher
Interior Design / Interior Architecture

College
Cork Institute of Technology

Contact
maireadbelcher@gmail.com
https://www.instagram.com/marmalade_mairead/
https://maireadbelcher.wixsite.com/mndb

Mairead Laura Belcher

Woodstock House Arts & Events Centre

My aim is to refurbish and repurpose Woodstock House as a community arts and performance center and provide a center of creative arts that is nestled in a quiet and peaceful rural landscape that would provide relaxation and inspiration for everyone (artists and visitors) to be inspired by and enjoy. Woodstock house is located above the picturesque village of Inistioge, Co. Kilkenny, and is an 18th Century stately home, which was owned by the Tighe family. It was burned down in 1922 during the Irish Civil war and has been derelict for over 80 years. It has now deteriorated into a ruin and is engulfed by nature. The gardens which have recently been reinstated to the original 18th Century design highlight the dilapidation and neglect of a once thriving house. Kilkenny is an established hub for creative arts and this house provided the ideal location for a digital arts and events centre. The arts and performance will offer Kilkenny a new center which is open to all ages to engage in creative digital arts and performances. Kilkenny attracts many artists throughout the year, with performances, creative design and visual arts such a Cats laughs , Kilkenny Arts week along with well-known Irish designers, who have their establishments located in Kilkenny such as Nicholas Mosse, Cartoon Saloon and Young Irish Filmmakers, as well as the National Design and Craft Council and Grennan Mill Craft School in Thomastown As a venue it would be divided into different spaces which circulate around a central light well with the idea of access to the lightwell on every floor. It also serves as the center point on the public access tunnel to enter from the front of the building into the gardens. The first space in the basement will provide an area for exhibition , workspace and film screenings for artists , the second space would provide a cafe to the rear of the main house which would provide a space for public to grab a coffee or small bite to eat , the third space would provide space for workshop for digital artist and fourth space would provide a bar on the top floor of the main house which could be rented out for private functions and also attract amateur dramatics and local musicians. The ethos of the building would be to bridge together various creative artists to work together in a shared environment and to provide a center for creative people to work under one roof .The advantages of refurbishing this building to this degree would be that it would attract people interested in the arts , along with established footfall of those visiting the gardens and nature walks. As there was no roof and limited internal structure, the building provides scope for a creative and sympathetic restoration. This allowed for the creation of a new internal structure, reinstatement of the roof and part of the front façade. While mapping the site, the exposed structural element supporting the front façade inspired my conceptual approach to translate this language throughout the internal structure. The intact central lightwell creates a focal point within the design. The next step was to explore how the new internal structure would translate into the interior space. In conjunction with this it is was necessary to consider the requirements and functions needed for an arts and events centre. This was achieved initially by researching related precedents and using an entity relationship diagram to relate the different spaces before master planning. During this stage the final space layout within the building was created. The initial design was influenced by a Memphis style while still using traditional historic building materials and finishes such as lime renders. Also, I wanted to take advantage of the views of the gardens from the different locations throughout the building by incorporating window seating and balconies. This design was then developed further and tested for building compliance. The sheltered fire escape is an independent structural design with a link to the building. This created an opportunity to increase the top floor area and create an outdoor terrace area and bar. The building provides artists with workspaces and exhibition areas, while the incorporation of a café and bar enhances the facility, and overall creates a new and exciting venue for the community while also attracting a larger number of visitors. The final design incorporated the core concept of an exposed independent structure within the confines of the external walls, making use of the wall depth to create seating areas and views throughout the building. Incorporating a café, bar and exhibition space attracts visitors to the space and gardens. The building creates a new and exciting venue for the community and provided local artist with a work and events space.

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