Sorenen Project Leixlip Garda Station achieved Best Public Building in the OPUS 2009 Architectural and Construction Awards in the 2 Million to 20 Million Category.The Architects were O'Briain Beary and this Project involved the Construction of a three story Garda station complete with Cells, offices about a main Public Facility at Ground Floor level. It is located on a roadside site with large open space & car parking facilities.
The jury admired greatly this building defies the constraints traditionally associated with this brief and an un-promising suburban site to create an elegant and resourceful architectural composition â€“ a composition that is both sensitive to its immediate surroundings as well as the varying needs of its internal accommodation. The modest palette and balance of materials is just right. It re-establishes a standard of architectural quality that we should expect from even modestly sized public buildings.
The new Leixlip Garda Station fronts onto the old road to the west, now bypassed by the M4. The site comprised two parts, a residual open space area that could not be built on for legal reasons, and an existing cottage and garden. It is surrounded by suburban development from the 1960's onwards, and faces a large triangular open green space.
The building organisation was determined by five factors:
- the footprint delineated by the maximising of car parking on the site
- the stratification of the resultant three storey volume into a public floor, an office floor and a staff floor
- the avoidance of overlooking of properties to the east and north
- the desire to bring light into the interior to animate it's working life
- the desire to address the triangular green space and surrounding area as a public building
The Office of Public Works procured Leixlip Garda Station as one of an extensive programme of new Garda Stations being implemented countrywide to the highest standards of design and construction. It replaced an existing small Garda Station in the village centre which no longer provided appropriate accommodation, and it's construction on a larger site enabled the upgrading of the station to that of a District HQ. In commissioning the work the OPW was particularly concerned that the building respond sensitively to it's suburban context while projecting an accessible civic presence.
The project was procured through a conventional main contractor tender. The design team and contractor worked well together to deliver a project that has been welcomed by the Garda as providing a very appropriate contemporary working environment which facilitates their work with the public. The positioning of the building close to the footpath underlines it's accessibility and openness, while the use of deep window reveals and obscured glass provides the necessary privacy to the work of the Garda.