Art Room, Secondary School, Aran Islands, Ireland

This project provides an art room for a small secondary school on an Island in the Atlantic, of the west coast of Ireland.

The building of 100 sq.m is located on a limestone outcrop above the port village of Kilronan.

On the Aran Islands there are hard lessons to be learned about sustainability. This community, on the very edge of Europe, has survived in isolation through centuries of good times and bad. It is here that the highly skilled mason considers himself more of a farmer, the plaster is a famous traditional musician, the teacher is a fisherman during summer, and you are never just The Architect.

The design of this Art Room starts with the same language as the original school and previous extensions, however it separates itself from them. It is placed at the end of an existing yard. It activates a neglected space at the back of the school to create a welcoming courtyard. Externally, the long north wall is sized to accommodate two regulation handball courts, while internally, it is for hanging artwork. The south wall has a long window with views of the ocean and the mainland. Central to the scheme is the sheltered seating area. The shelter is intended as a place to socialise and observe art being made. It is a place to sit and sketch or paint. This new art room is also meant for the people of the island and visitors, to hold summer courses, night classes, and exhibitions.

It was made using traditional methods, materials, and local labor.