RICHARD HURLEY & ASSOCIATES ARCHITECTS
National Institute for Pastoral Liturgy, Carlow
When the National Institute for Pastoral Liturgy moved from Portarlington to Carlow in 1980, the Director, Rev. Sean Swayne, asked the architects to design a Eucharistic Room which would reflect in spirit and matter the liturgical changes which had taken place since the Second Vatican Council, and to develop a plan which would allow for further changes in the future.
The plan concentrates on the informality of Christians coming together to celebrate the Eucharist. The mystery of human fellowship is heightened by the idea of the family gathering around the table. Within the family group is the celebrant, seated at their head. The essential character of the room 'as found' by the architects is totally accepted and kept intact. The uncompromising character of the all-white space is softened by the intimacy of the assembly. The space comes alive during the celebration. The complete flexibility of the timber furnishings, designed by the architects, respond to similar flexibility required by the liturgical celebrations from time to time.