BETA We use cookies to improve your experience. By using you agree to our terms of use and use of cookies. This is a new RIBA online service. We would like to hear your feedback .

Find an architect

Nursery, Bessbrook

Newry, Mourne and Down

Project Details

£250,000 to £499,999

New Build


MMAS Architects

2nd Floor New Mill , Conway Mill , 5-7 Conway Street , Belfast , County Antrim , BT13 2DE , United Kingdom

The site is within the grounds of the existing Bessbrook Community Centre; the east side of the site will face the car park; the north side is facing towards the village. Placed as a pavilion on a steeply sloping site at the edge of Bessbrook Pond Field, the proposal hopes to enhance the park as a contribution to civic amenity within the wider village. It is proposed that the external ‘amphitheatre’ created by the form of the building against the hillside, will be a space for wider community events and gatherings (summer screenings, weekend events, etc), suggesting that the project also offers potential community use after day–care hours. By incorporating the park into the design, it enhances learning about nature within the sure start centre. The early urban structure of Bessbrooks is U shaped in form in a bid to emphasise the importance of shared open space in the daily lives of the mill workers and their families. As a result, the houses were organised to accommodate shared open space and amenities for the occupants of the town. In addition to this, the Portlaw Truss was readily used in Bessbrook in workers’ houses. Historically used in Quaker workers cottages, the bowstring truss, colloquially known as the Portlaw Truss, was first used in Portlaw, Co. Waterford, another Quaker settlement In Ireland. The truss reflects the philanthropic and humanitarian approach the Quakers took towards working and living conditions within the village they built in Ireland. The introduction of the curve in our proposed section is reminiscent of this historical domestic form – a reintroduction of the Portlaw Trusses once seen elsewhere in the village. Our curve has a more modern pragmatic use however to diffuse direct sunlight as it enters the pavilions interior spaces.