The Biosciences Research Building (BRB) at the National University of Ireland in Galway (NUIG) is a research laboratory that houses cutting-edge research for regenerative medicine, chem-bio and cancer. Form and function align to optimize performance, transparency and a connection with the horizon of the surrounding Irish landscape. The building features two distinct façade strategies, which respond to environmental factors such as extremely low sun angles, which makes glare a significant problem in Ireland.
The east façade consists of a render shell, punctuated by horizontal bands of windows that bring natural light into continuous loft-like open labs and write up desks. As the building bends, the render changes plane at the intersection of the two geometries. All window sills remain constant; however, the face of the render moves 8” forward or backward to provide a dynamic quality to the surfaces as one moves along the façade. Window openings at the center of the façade are tallest, reflecting the public spaces and atrium within.
The warm materiality of the OKAWOOD curtainwall facing New Castle Road to the west provides a dramatic public face for the BRB. The radiant materiality of the wood lattice within the insulated glazing units shields the glare from the harsh western exposure and gives the building a dignified and unique presence as the “wood” façade gracefully defines itself against a lush green horizon. The façade seems to be ever changing day to night, sunny to cloudy, with windows open or closed.