IIMS Balbriggan // Dublin, IRL // 2020-23
The Lark Theatre is a new 400 seat venue in the town of Balbriggan, in north Dublin. The structure is part of the Irish Institute of Music and Song campus and is located next to a three-storey protected Georgian House which provides accommodation for visiting artists and scholars. The concert hall was originally designed for chamber music which gives shape and volume to the space but also allows for a multitude of performance types including cinema, pantomime, and comedy.
To achieve the necessary reverberation, the roof of the hall was set as high as possible and drops at building edge responding to the scale of the surrounding streets. The ceiling of the hall is pleated to reflect the sound to the back of the audience and grooved acoustic panelling is used for diffusion. This sets up the leitmotif of the project as pleats are also used to make up the elevations, breaking up the volume which is clad in granite slabs.
On the interior the angled façade helps reflect sound around the music classrooms which are located on the western side elevation. These spaces have tall windows bringing light deep into the plan. The second-floor rehearsal space expresses the shape of the roof and has an opening looking back into the hall with acoustic curtains connecting the two spaces. The lobby and reception area are located on the north elevation which is set back from the street. Windows on this façade are wider and frame views from the vertical circulation. Visitors are brought to a balcony which looks through a two-storey window towards the centre of the town on the way up to their seat and given a view towards the sea through a large picture window as they leave the performance.