Berkeley Library, Trinity College

Built

1967

Location

Dublin

Study alcoves and exterior of Berkeley Library, Trinity College, Dublin, 1967. © Architectural Press Archive / RIBA Library Photographs Collection

Image: Study alcoves and exterior of Berkeley Library, Trinity College, Dublin, 1967 
© Architectural Press Archive / RIBA Library Photographs Collection

This Wicklow granite-clad university library calls out to all Le Corbusier fans through its simple shape and form to its heavy concrete surfaces. Ahrends Burton & Koralek won Dublin’s Open International 1960 competition to build Berkeley Library and it was later completed in 1967, situated amongst an 18th-century backdrop of buildings by Thomas Burgh and Sir William Chambers.

The building adopts qualities of Le Corbusier’s Saint-Marie-de-la-Tourette with its abstract, decorative concrete features. It was, however, criticised for not harmonising with its surroundings, though Koralek was adamant that he wanted to create a building that represented the 20th century just as well as Deane and Woodward’s museum at Trinity College represented the 19th century. The choices of stone and curved windows do show that Koralek was making an attempt at echoing earlier buildings around it.

Article by Shiri Webb,  British Architectural Library, RIBA

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