RUSH (IE) - As more and more people turn their backs on religion, churches all over Europe are falling into disuse. The big old churches are too expensive for small communities to maintain and so smaller new ones are built – easier to maintain, much more comfortable and cheaper to operate. As it is difficult to fit new functions into the old churches, a lot of them – mainly from the post-war period – have already been demolished. The heritage buildings, however, are a different story. Careful attention is given to renovating these buildings in order to keep their spirits alive.
The conversion of St Maur's Church in Rush into the town library is one such sustainable intervention. McCullough Mulvin Architects decided right from the start not to make any changes to the traditional exterior. And although the interior has been modernized, the architects were at pains to 'rescue' existing materials and internal features as much as possible. By way of contrast, an undulating plane of American walnut was added, which fills the nave, pushing tensely against the older shell. The plane forms a continuous route from entrance to 'altar', accommodating a reception desk, new galleries, book storage and a light shaft.