Register: APR/13/2018, Submit: MAY/17/2018, Eligibility: Architects, designers, enthusiasts, companies and students; individually, teams up to 4 members, Fee: Architects, designers, enthusiasts, companies 90 USD, students 70 USD (OCT/18 – DEC/13/2017); architects, designers, enthusiasts, companies 120 USD, students 100 USD (DEC/14/2017 – FEB/16/2018); architects, designers, enthusiasts, companies 140 USD, students 120 USD (FEB/17 – APR/13/2018); discount for 3+ registrations from one university/school, Awards: 1st Prize 3,000 USD, 2nd Prize 1,500 USD, 3rd Prize 500 USD, BB Student Award 500 USD, BB Green Award 500 USD, 6 Honorable Mentions
Ireland is a country steeped in a rich musical heritage. Flowing from its Celtic roots, Irish music has grown to become something of a tour-de-force on the international scene with bands the likes of U2 and Hozier reaching a huge international audience. Today, Ireland is evolving as both leader and innovator in contemporary music, and continues to produce new and exciting young bands. The summer and winter months alike are ablaze with music festivals across the length and breadth of the country. Venues throughout Ireland play host to all manner of music and cultural events to a diverse and increasingly international audience. This competition is focused on tapping into this energy through the restoration of a rural, iconic music venue in the hopes that the proposals may act as precedents for other venues, both in Ireland and abroad.
With the ever-increasing digitization of the music industry, and indeed our whole society, it is now more prevalent than ever to acknowledge the importance of the music venue as much more than simply a vessel in which music and culture are exhibited. These are places which are vitally important to the urban fabric.
Currently cities and rural communities alike are seeing a decline in small independent venues for a plethora of reasons stretching from competition with large arenas, property development and increasing property prices, and new town planning and local authority legislation.
Many small venues are falling by the wayside while larger arenas are prospering, however these larger arenas simply cannot foster the kind of artistic innovation and a cur at small capacity venues. In the words of Shain Shapiro, of the Sound Music Consultancy – “Having a healthy music heritage and system makes cities look good. It increases tourism. It increases city branding stay. If you have a restaurants, mini diversity – it doesn’t sexual orientation. It makes young people want to stay. If you have a healthy venue, you’re going to have restaurants, mini cab firms and bars. It enhances diversity – it doesn’t matter where you’re from or what sexual orientation you are, music is a communicator.”
Irish Cult Music Venue
The Irish Cult Music Venue competition at its core is concerned with acknowledging Ireland’s place in the music industry and promoting it to an international audience, while also exploring how an existing music venue can be transformed to become an iconic destination in its own right. Ultimately, it is hoped that the competition will provide a strong precedent for other rural venues, both in Ireland and abroad.
The competition has two distinct elements: one is concerned with the music venue itself, and the other encompasses all the other ancillary spaces which would exist outside the music venue. Considering the music venue’s rich heritage, care should be taken to preserve the integrity and spirit of the space. However, design interventions within the music venue itself are encouraged as long as they are in keeping with the spirit of the existing venue. The ancillary buildings, now used mainly for storage, can be completely redesigned from the ground up.
Though this is an ideas competition, Connolly’s of Leap expressed an intent on the part of the venue to go into development in the future. As such participants should feel free to push the boundaries of their creativity and challenge themselves to create novel approaches to redesigning this venue, while at the same time respecting the heritage of the existing bar.
CONNOLLY’S OF LEAP
A Brief History
The village of Leap derives its name from the Irish translation of “Leim Ui Dhonnabhainn” to “O’Donovans Leap”. This name arose from the story of an Irish chieftain called O’Donovan who was pursued by British soldiers, but escaped them by leaping across a deep ravine at the bottom of the village on horseback. The old slogan “Beyond the Leap, Beyond the Law”, stems from the area’s long-forgotten character as a safe haven for political refugees on the run from the British empire
during the 18th and 19th century. British forces could not easily give chase over the treacherous ravine until it was finally bridged when the current Cork to Skibbereen road was built in 1812-1815.
While the small, and sometimes sleepy, village of Leap may be somewhat off the beaten path, it is home to what is becoming one of Ireland’s best loved music venues – Connolly’s of Leap. The building, which has aged through 450 years, has been championing live music through three generations of family. As far back as the 1950s, when the venue was called ‘The Central Bar’, music was being performed every week. Eileen along with her son Sam, the current owners and operators of the venue, were both born and raised in the building, constantly surrounded by the magic of music. In 1985, Eileen and her husband Paddy McNicholl purchased the venue from her parents and renamed it Connolly’s of Leap in their honour. Under the avaricious management of Paddy, the venue soon became established as a music venue of note and a place of warm hospitality for both musicians and their avid listeners alike.
Connolly’s earned itself a reputation as a venue bands simply loved to perform at. The homely and intimate appeal of playing at Connollys was only added to by the beautiful mystique of West Cork which Leap is situated at the heart of. In 1994 Paddy McNicholl told Hotpress magazine –
“Too many venues either want instant success and are not prepared for the long haul, or they panic at the first sign of a decline in audience numbers. But if they had the bottle to keep going through the lean times they would probably find that things would almost automatically pick up. Activity breeds activity.”
Paddy’s pioneering attitude and his reverence towards the musicians who form the heart and soul of the music industry, helped create a truly soulful venue in which all types of music are encouraged to be heard.
After the venue closed its doors to the public in 2006, and followed by the untimely passing of Paddy in 2010, the venue had been closed until December 2015, when Paddy’s son, Sam McNicholl, decided to relaunch Connollys alongside his mother Eileen, with a renewed enthusiasm to continue his late father’s work in championing the artist and live music in rural Ireland.
THE COMPETITION SITE
The site is composed of the existing music venue building and the entirety of the site as set out in the site plan. The proposed competition site offers a unique opportunity to combine and restore an existing music venue with new and innovative architectural interventions through a novel and interesting composition. The proposed site also allows an opportunity to explore revitalising the village and its public space.
Participants should be extremely considerate of the landscape in which they are designing in both a sustainable and contextual manner. These include, but are not limited to, the ravine, the waterfall, and the level changes which take place across the site. While participants should be thoughtful of site-specific considerations, they must also take into account the broader cultural context in which the music venue is situated.
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