Plan for education facility at Dublin city Magdalene Laundry site is modeled on London university

The National College of Ireland’s (NCI) proposal to use a former Magdalene Laundry site in Dublin as an education facility includes plans to develop a center of excellence for schemes to support parents and children with home visits.

eanwhile, architects working on the plans have referenced a building at Kingston University London “as a good architectural reference” for the redevelopment of the former laundry on Seán McDermott Street.

The London university’s award-winning Town House building has been commended for offering “an imaginative approach to education as a process of engagement and discovery.”

It was designed by Dublin-based Grafton Architects with the intention of creating “a place where reading, dance, performance, lectures, exhibitions, research and learning happily co-exist under one roof.”

Correspondence released under Freedom of Information shows an architect working with NCI told Department of Education officials the Kingston building was relevant to the project because “it has free and open access to the public”, an event space, a small cafe and a variety of open -plan spaces and “smaller enclosed classrooms on each level”.

Last year the Government approved proposals for a National Center for Research and Remembrance at the site, and the Office of Public Works (OPW) is currently involved in examining potential educational uses for the building. The OPW is soon to publish a tender notice making education providers aware of opportunities at the former laundry.

NCI has already outlined its interest and further correspondence between the college, education officials and the OPW outlines its vision for how the site could be used.

NCI said a new national center of excellence based there under its proposals would aim to change the lives of young people in the area and support an ambition to help “12,400 babies born into poverty in Ireland each year”.

The college believes it can be used by early learning intervention teams supporting children in Dublin, Limerick, Galway, Waterford, Wexford and Louth.

An early learning initiative developed in 2005 which is run by the college includes home visiting programs to work with parents to “increase numeracy and literacy in pre-school children” and provides supporting programs for schools, it said.

The site would provide “a focal point for knowledge management and capacity-building”, it added.

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