We were invited by Open House Limerick along with five other practices to propose a design for a pavilion that would be installed in Ted Russell Park, on the suburban outskirts of Limerick City and in response to a brief that called for a didactic public space, constructed sustainably and within a built footprint of 9m².
A response to the historic context of Ted Russell Park, the Flying Follies Pavilion reflects on and draws attention to a rich local built heritage. Designed as a volume that fragments into triangulated plinths, vessels and follies – their forms derived from abstractions of the romantic Welsh gothic style of the neighbouring Derravoher, notable for its ornate loggia, buttressing, distinct roofs and triangulated bay window. The house, built in the 1840s, was designed by and for William Henshaw Owen who also designed the adjacent villa, Tivoli. Both buildings are now part of the Villiers School.
The park, donated to Limerick City by Ted Russell himself in 1972, who was the final private owner of Derravoher, is a strip of land between the historic Circular Road, a suburban area developed in the mid-19th century replete with historic villas, and the more recently established Condell Road. On a section of land originally leased from Sir Matthew Barrington, whose name is still associated with the pier to which the primary axis of the park aligns, Barrington Quay. The pavilion fragments around this central axis and an axis aligned with the footprints of Tivoli and Derravoher houses.
The pavilion aims to encourage movement through and around the park to engage with the various objects located throughout. Views from one vessel to another are orchestrated to create intrigue. The historic axis originally defined by a roadway which connected entrances to the Owen designed villas to the pier beyond is emphasised, as are views to the villas. Each element elaborates on the historic significance of the land, structures and associated individuals using viewfinders and engraved explanatory details and drawings.
The design respects the terms of the 1839 lease to which W.H. Owen agreed when acquiring the land, that no dwelling or any “noisome, noisy or offensive trade or business whatsoever” may be erected on the land. The pavilion is therefore dispersed through the park in small pockets of activity, aiming to appear as continuations of existing landscape rather than a definitive whole form.
We hope in doing so, that Sir Barrington would approve.
The pavilion is formally inspired by the ornate Gothic flourishes of the neighbouring picturesque villa, Derravoher. In the assembled form, the pavilion is contained within a 9sqm, 3m high volume that can be tranported via standard flatbed truck. On site, it is intended that the volume would fragment into its constituent parts, placed in specific locations selected to intrigue and engage the user by alluding to historic context while practically functioning as devices for display, wayfinding, lighting, shelter and rest.
Dispersed through the park are seven unique objects that are intended to allow members of the public learn about the rich history associated with Ted Russell Park, Barrington Quay, the North Circular Road and its environs. They are designed as didactic architectural follies – ruins and relics that point figuratively and literally to elements of the local built heritage and encourage a height- ened experience of the parkland by inferring a journey through it that engages with the interven- tions in the landscape. They reference the tradition of follies in picturesque garden settings, as an accompaniment to W.H. Owen’s villa, itself an ornate design in the “picturesque” idiom.
The pavilion elements are entirely constructed from recycled plastic panels that have a completely circular lifecycle, being 100% recycled and 100% recyclable. Both structure and finished surface make use of the material, with exterior terazzo style panels hung with button fixings on an endoskeleton formed of ribs and framework both cut from the same sheet material.
Panels are digitally modelled and fabricated using CNC processes while and ornamentation, lettering and illustration is added with similar techniques.The struc- tures are fixed to plastic base containers that would be filled with sand and debris from the River Shannon, to be retrieved at Barrington Pier and returned to the river bank on disassembly of the pavilion.
Survey details and other information relating to the historic context of Derravoher was drawn from fantastic research by Grainne McMahon MRIAI as part of restoration work carried out in 2016.
Congratulations to Carson and Crushell Architects on their competition winning entry, we look forward to visiting a beautiful pavilion of pollarded trees next year.