St. Mary’s CBS is accommodated on a single campus to the north-east of Portlaoise along with Scoil Chríost Rí and the Shared Facilities Building. This is in the context of a campus like environment with the three buildings arranged around a central, south facing Piazza. This arrangement encourages the development of linkages between the two schools where they can find common interests while leaving each school to retain its own identity. The design for St. Mary’s relates well to the Piazza while retaining its own identity. The design also responds well to the basic characteristic of the site which has a south facing slope and is entered from the south.
The new school building is a powerful symbol for the rapidly expanding and evolving town of Portlaoise. The school is a facility of which Portlaoise, the school parents, teachers and pupils will be equally proud. It caters for all including those who are able bodied and those less fortunate. Its accommodation includes a ground floor Special Needs Unit. The school reflects the proud sporting tradition of St. Mary’s.
Circulation within the school is clear and easily understood and is bright and airy. The new building will as far as is possible accommodate changing teaching methods and management as these may evolve in the future during the life of the school. The design has been so developed as to strengthen the linkage with the Piazza. The school building welcomes in and embraces this major semi-public space.
The building provides good naturally lit circulation spaces where the students work is displayed along with photographs of teams etc.
Finally the school is as sustainable and low energy a building as possible. To that end it is a teaching tool demonstrating how it works.
Simple plan that easily fulfils all adjacency requirements while providing naturally lit teaching and circulation spaces.