Located in Cork, Ireland, designed by Murray Ó Laoire Architects, Cork School of Music is the first purpose built building of its kind in Ireland, providing 52 music teaching studios, a rehearsal hall, theatre, music library, recording and dance studios, classrooms and lecture theatres. Central to the architects’ concept is the theme of collegiality balanced with the tailoring of spaces to the requirements of music teaching.
To achieve the brief’s rigorous acoustic performance criteria, spaces utilise “box within box” construction with floating floors and ceilings, splayed walls and services isolated from the primary structure. Construction of a sample studio early on allowed fine tuning of acoustical details with the teaching staff.
Enhancing the collegiate character visual connection is retained between teaching spaces by the use of acoustic glazed screens. There are minimal staff offices as they are innovatively incorporated within the teaching studios
The rehearsal hall, a classic shoebox form, provides a high quality, flexible acoustic and performance environment. Primarily a student training space, it facilitates a multiplicity of performer and audience configurations from the small ensemble rehearsal to performances with a 500 seat audience through an hydraulic stage; moveable, pivoting ceiling panels and acoustically variable wall panelling.
Externally the palette of sandstone, limestone, brick and animated glazing reinforces the design of a confident, civic, and contemporary set-piece by the river. The rehearsal hall, theatre and studios are solid and geological in form while the curved limestone façade reflects the river bend. In contrast the top floor library and studios act as light boxes, benefit from stunning city views and are reflective of the sky.