University President Dr. John Lahey envisioned a museum devoted to Ireland's Great Hunger of the mid-19th century. The building currently houses the world’s largest collection of art directly related to this historic tragedy.
Architectural and design decisions throughout were intended to contribute to the museum's narrative of the CAPACITY190COST PER SQ FT$616.00FEATURED IN2014 Architectural Portfolio Hunger. Evoking images of the Irish countryside, stone walls shape the entrance and procession through a low-ceilinged entry of natural dark woods and slate. A bronze and wood stair draws participants up to the main gallery. The spaces and materials are intended to support and enhance the art without architectural distraction. The story is the primary driver of the design.
Built in 1890, the original wood-framed building was a library. To meet standards for temperature and humidity, double walls were created to super insulate the building and create flexible exhibit spaces capable of all forms of display. The quiet interior creates a contemplative space to absorb art and experience history.
The museum is a showpiece for the university and an educational center for students and the public.