Old Borough School and Parish Centre
The Old Borough school and parish centre in Swords, County Dublin, was one the most challenging - and most applauded - of PKA's educational projects.
Located on the site of a former quarry, PKA's building adjoins a round tower, a medieval keep and a nineteenth century parish church that are collectively the most important element of Swords' architectural heritage.
PKA's design is a specific response to the historic location, and especially the facade of Francis Johnson's church that stands above and behind the school.
The design is also a considered response to the topography of the site which drops seven meters from the church gate entrance to the lower level classrooms and playground that stand on the banks of the River Ward which separates the school from the town centre.
The three elements the building - classrooms, parish hall and community room - are stacked one above another, with the classroom walls providing a base to the first floor parish hall, and the community room above which has a gallery that overlooks the hall.
An internal 'street' at ground level, separating the classrooms from their service rooms behind, links the main school entrance with the single staircase that connects all three levels with a secondary entrance on Church Road.
Commissioned jointly by the Department of Education and the Swords Parish Governors, The Old Borough school has been much praised for its contextual response to its setting: it was commended in the AAI awards and won the best school category in the 2002 Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland annual awards.
Client: Board of Governors, Old Borough School
Size: 1,400 Sq.m.
Reference: Rev. Robert Deane, Chairman, Board of Governors