Our brief was for the construction of a replacement members clubhouse with the added objective of attracting patrons from the wider public.
The awkward triangular site, the leftovers from the pitch development, potentially had four public elevations. It was also a client requirement that the recently completed changing rooms be retained.
The main asset of the site is that it sat at the top of the ridge of soft sandstone rock which gives its name to the Rock Streets below. This location gave any potential development extensive views over the city, views which were never experienced from the earlier clubrooms on a site below.
We viewed the project as an opportunity to reject the club room typology of fences grilles and shutters and firmly root the building in its community in a position which gives its respect to and allegiance to those around it, perhaps a post conflict precedent which could be repeated. The building is essentially two main social areas; a members lounge with associated snooker separated by the service zone of bar counters, kitchens, storage and toilets from a function room with it's own access to allow it to be used in a semi autonomous way. Staff and public circulation are kept separate.
The retention of the existing changing rooms provided a means to create an external space hidden from view within which to locate the service and bins area. The public entrance is approached from the carpark. Adjacent a bunker like slit window rests. It identifies the committee/board room on the elevations and signifies control of access not by a doorman behind grilles, or indeed even by the earlier military presence on the site, but by a seated accountable committee. Internally the folding partition around the board room cements their integration with the remainder of the membership.
This is a modest and simple building which relies on the views to state openness and trust. It celebrates the primacy of program and site in establishing the functional building upon which some of those extra layers that make buildings into architecture can be placed.
Winner of the 2008 Royal Society of Ulster Architects Award for a recreational / community building in harmony with its site.