Garda (Police) Headquarters Ireland

Submitted by Elke Westen

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Client: Office of Public Works (OPW) Ireland

Location: Dublin, Ireland

Completion date: 2018

Project Team

Client

OPW, Office of Public Works, Rep. of Ireland

Artist

Elke Westen, MA

Overview

New Artwork for the main entrance of the Garda (Police) divisional Headquarters of Ireland, approx. 16 meters high, 5 meters wide, painting on float glass with integrated dichroic glass and optical lighting film, partly sandblasted, toughened and laminated, metal frame construction to hold the glass.

Goals

The new Garda Station with its new artwork does give little away of its hidden functions and treasures, especially from the outside.
Only once you enter the building, it will reveal its vibrant functionality and colourful warmth. Given the long history of building on the site of the new Kevin Street Garda Station and the connection with the Palace of St. Sepulchre, the most appropriate approach for the design is to combine elements of the past with a “contemporary outfit”, thereby reflecting the cutting edge design of the new Garda headquarter.
Deliberately abstaining from gruesome images of skulls and bones, which would come to mind given the recent archaeological discoveries, and instead focusing on the more obvious visual connections of the building with its surroundings, the artwork will perfectly integrate all aspects.
St Patrick’s Cathedral in its background as well as the remains of the St. Sepulchre Palace, hidden in the architecture of the remaining buildings, have been the inspiration and will give the viewer a sense of location and history.

Process

The constant and close cooperation between the architect and all building trades and the final installation team on site was essential for the integration of this artwork into the building and to guarantee that the artwork was hanging in position in time for the opening.

Additional Information

Design elements: The mappings of foundations of St. Patricks Cathedral, the Old Palace and the new building are reflected in the sandblasted areas, the river Liffey, references from the past (red circle=well). The overall design of the glass artwork is enclosed and optically held together by a free-painted ecclesial Yellow arch/frame (a traditional design feature in church windows), designed with Celtic symbols taken from the floor tiles of St Patrick’s Cathedral. Contemporary elements in the glass design will transform the interior of Kevin Street Garda station into a constantly changing space with a relaxing and calming effect.