The Monaghan Education Campus is a unique multi-use facility bringing together a primary school, secondary school and further education college onto a single site with combined community sports and theatre provision.
A masterplanning architect with relevant experience in all of these building types was required and Hawkins\Brown was selected following an international competition to work with a Dublin based practice, Opperman Associates.
The town of Monaghan sits on the main route into Northern Ireland from Eire, just south of the border. Local people have been deeply affected by the political unrest of the last fifty years and recent investment in the town has meant there is a real sense that things are changing. A former army barracks has been transformed from a desolate and oppressive wilderness on the outskirts of Monaghan town into a new focus for the local community.
In addition to the masterplanning and landscape strategy Hawkins\Brown completed the detail design of the college of Further Education and Community Theatre.
The Monaghan Institute of Further Education and Technology (MIFET) was designed in collaboration with the end users to provide a mix of academic and vocational education ranging from beauty therapy to IT training to construction.
The Garage Theatre consists of a 300 seated flexible auditorium with retractable seating, rehearsal room and generous bar and café areas all linked through a double height foyer. It is a modern uncompromising building with large picture windows to provide views across the surrounding rural landscape. The palette of materials has been kept to a minimum, with dark semi-glazed bricks to the walls and pre-weathered zinc to the recessed top floor, the entrance and the external stage in front.
The landscaping has an organic plan form following the many contours of the site, sloping down by 8 metres overall from south to north over the 5 hectare site.