Pictured are Architect Daniel Cordier, Bernard McNamara, Professor Don Barry, UL President and John O'Connor, President Emeritus, University of Limerick.
Building contracts have this morning been signed for the construction of the €20million Irish World Academy of Music and Dance building at the University of Limerick. The unique building has been designed specifically to combine the elements of teaching and performance, by leading French Architect Daniel Cordier, who was appointed following an international design competition in 2004. Michael McNamara & Company Ltd. today signed contracts to handle the building of the structure, which will commence immediately.
The Irish World Academy building will accommodate two performance workshop theatres, the Tower Theatre and the Sionna Theatre. The Tower Theatre, which is designed in an atrium style, scales from the bottom floor to the top of the building and finishes with a circular window to the sky. The tower, which can hold 80 people, will contain an awe-inspiring Pipe Organ making it an ideal venue for chant and voice performance. Holding up to 200 people, the Sionna Theatre has been designed as a musical laboratory, with sprung timber parquet dance floors to facilitate dance performance.
The Irish World Academy building will also feature, a green room for performers, performance control rooms, recording spaces, a researchers area for 40 students, music performance practice rooms and dance performance studios. The building will also accommodate a computer suite, along with multi purpose music/ speech classroom studios and tutorial rooms as well as academic and administration offices and a cafe.
The design of the new building includes 'a performance entrance forecourt' to the open area immediately adjacent to the Academy's front entrance. The recently opened Living Bridge will merge with this Plaza, on the Clare side of the UL Campus. The Irish World Academy of Music and Dance Building will operate as a naturally ventilated building with minimal mechanical ventilation to reduce its long-term carbon footprint. The design utilised weather data from Shannon airport to understand the microclimate and to design the independent below ground plenum air supplies to the two Theatres incorporated into the design.
Dr Mícheál O Súilleabháin, Professor of Music at the University of Limerick and founder/director of the Irish World Academy said that he was 'particularly delighted that this elegant and beautiful building was being constructed by Michael McNamara & Co, whose origins are in County Clare. Given that the building is being built on the county Clare side of the University of Limerick campus, and given the recognition of Clare as the premier county for traditional music and dance in Ireland, I expect jigs and reels to come out of the walls'
The Irish World Academy of Music and Dance was founded in 1994 as a research and postgraduate study centre in cross-cultural music and dance. Currently offering twelve degree programmes, it hosts in excess of 260 full-time students from 25 countries.