Shannaghmore caters for all schools and community youth groups and is used all year with visitors taking part in activities such as abseiling, canoeing and orienteering.
Facilities at the centre were in a state of disrepair and did not meet the long-term aspirations of the board. The new works included the refurbishment of the existing main building, a large stone clad house built in the 1920’s, and the demolition of an unattractive 1980’s extension to the rear. A stream and dry-stone wall constrained the length of the building, but levels across the width of the site varied by almost a full storey height and offered the opportunity of creating a lower ground floor. A glazed link connects the existing house to the extension and emphasises the interface between old and new. This entrance volume contains a new lift and staircase and has helped to rationalise and simplify circulation routes throughout the building. It offers views in and out and has become a dramatic visual marker, particularly when illuminated at night. The ground floor is predominantly glazed so that office and reception spaces are welcoming, inviting and open. The continuous curtain walling provides a generous level of natural light and constantly reminds the user of the spectacular setting outside. The cedar sheeting adds warmth and colour to the façade and has been left untreated so that it will weather naturally and blend into the woodland surroundings.
The building secured an RSUA Design Award in 2008.
Southern Education & Library Board
Newcastle, County Down
Architect / Planning Supervisor