As the new campus building at the University of Galway neared completion, the need for a dramatic statement at its gateway, become ever more apparent. We were invited by Downer International to design a structural fabric solution, which best realised the Architects wishes, while dealing with the complex ground topography. The brief was further influenced by a very restrictive programme and budget.
The asymmetric structure was conceived to provide protection from the prevailing wind while minimising any obstruction to the dramatic views afforded from the bridge. A central torsion spine was used to support the cantilevering arched ribs, which in turn supported the floating fabric surface. In conjunction with the lateral stability provided by the single connection to the building, it removed the need for any obtrusive bracing elements.
Coloured PVC membrane was used to add presence to the structure.