Cork School of Music

Located on the banks of the River Lee, the new-build CIT Cork School of Music provides a bespoke academic facility in a unique city centre setting. The 12,000 sq.m. ‘state of the art’ school accommodates 52 music studios; a 450 seat rehearsal hall; theatre space; music library; recording and dance studios; offices; classrooms and lecture theatres. The three central atria provide each space with generous amounts of natural daylight. There are a minimum of individual staff offices as this function is innovatively incorporated within the music studios. Externally the palette of red sandstone, buff limestone, blue brick and animated glazing reinforces the design of a confident, civic, and contemporary set-piece by the river. The theatre, rehearsal hall and tuition 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. The acoustic brief established the specialised performance requirements of each space and addressed the importance of quality workmanship and well managed contractor interfaces between various work packages. To achieve the rigorous acoustic performance criteria many of the spaces utilise ‘box within box’ construction with floating floors and ceilings, splayed walls and services isolated from the primary structure. The main rehearsal hall is designed as a‘simple’ rectangular box with great acoustic and performance flexibility. Primarily a student training space, it facilitates multiple configurations through hydraulic stage, moveable ceiling and pivoting wall paneling. The design process was further challenged as the school is one of the first five pilot PPP schools projects undertaken by the Irish Government and involves operating the building under a 25 year contract. The comprehensive brief and innovative design approach mark this building as a world-class model of its kind. The CIT Cork School of Music received the Best Educational Building award at the RIAI Irish Architecture Awards 2008. The project was also highly commended in the 2007 Opus Architecture & Construction Awards(Buildings Over €10 m Category).



Client: Cork Institute of Technology / Department of Education & Science
Total floor area: 12,000 sq.m.
Contract value: €51 million (excluding fit-out)
Status: Completed July 2007

The Directors, Staff and Consultants of MÓLA Architecture worked on this project while in Murray Ó Laoire Architects