Test Site

with a city
TEST SITE is a collaborative, urban research project based on Kyrl’s Quay, Cork City. Co-created by Ailbhe Cunningham + Aoife Desmond, the project works at the intersection of art, architecture and ecology. Engaging with natural and built heritage, the project uses site-specific architectural interventions, film/performance work, discursive talks and live events to respond to a vacant ‘island’ site on Kyrl’s Quay, Cork City Centre.
TEST SITE intends to affect greater
public engagement with the relationship
between architecture, ecology and
sustainable urban landscapes.
Kyrl's Quay

The site is part of a complex of vacant
Cork city centre sites including the R.H.
Parker & Sons / Cork Timber, Slate &
Cement Co. former timber yard and sawmill.

The sites are significant because of the architectural
structures and ecological diversity that they contain.
The ‘island site’ at Kyrl’s Quay, historically a foreshore,
was the docking point for small cargo ships.

The foreshore lay just outside the original city
walls which cut through the abandoned sawmill site.
Historically Kyrl’s/Kerl’s Quay was also named
Timber Quay linking this part of the city to timber
trade and industry.

the part of a shore between high and low-water marks, or between the
water and cultivated or developed land.

Recently purchased by Cork City Council,
the industrial heritage of these sites remains
visible. Protected and architecturally significant structures are dappled across the sites.

In varying degrees of dilapidation and decay,
these vacant industrial structures sit in harmony
amongst a growing and biodiverse ecology.
Asset 6
TEST SITE works collaboratively
across the disciplines of art,
architecture, ecology and
urban planning to open up the
sites for public usage in a
considered and sensitive manner.
1. (in ancient Greece) a public open space used for assemblies and markets.
The Project

TEST SITE is proposed as a research space
- open for conversations, workshops and
cultural activity relating to heritage and
biodiversity in Cork City and internationally.
TEST SITE provides a space to temporarily
intervene in the potential of a Cork city
centre vacant site, to consider its sensitive
reuse and significance.

TEST SITE works collaboratively across the
disciplines of art, architecture, ecology and urban
planning to open up the ‘island’ site for public usage
in a considered and sensitive manner. TEST SITE –
a collective reassessment of a city’s function –
the design of a modern Agora, a curated public
meeting space that negotiates the positive,
sustainable development of our urban environment.
Asset 8
TEST SITE provides a space
to temporarily intervene in the potential
of a Cork city centre vacant site,
to consider its sensitive reuse and significance.

Upcoming Events

Architectural Heritage Seminar

Architectural Heritage Film Screening

What is a stenchpole and where is it? A workshop with Ciara O’Flynn

Architectural Interventions

The TEST SITE pavilion, designed by Ailbhe
Cunningham in collaboration with ARUP Engineers
& Silva Build, has been designed using circular economy
principles. The pavilion is one of several architectural
interventions on site for the project. The brief for the
Pavilion design is three fold:

1) To reduce, and potentially eliminate, the production
  of waste from the construction process.
2) To create a modern response to the built heritage of the site.
3) To provide a temporary home for public discussion around, and engagement with, the importance of high quality,
regenerative placemaking.

The roof structure consists of a modern day
adaptation of the Belfast or Portlaw Truss.
Employed in the roof of the neighbouring sawmills,
the roof truss was traditionally made up of glued
and nailed lengths of wood.

This modern interpretation avoids the necessity for glue/nails
and depends entirely on hand cut joints and bolt fastenings.
The cladding consists of reused waste wood panels – all salvaged from the truss fabrication process, an example of circular use.
An online materials passport will display the origin of and
life cycle potential of each of the material elements used.

The pavilion installed on Kyrl’s Quay is open for the public to interact & engage with the heritage and biodiversity of the site. Once this public stage of the TEST SITE project ends the pavilion will be relocated to a suitable, permanent home
within the Community of Cork City.

Film &
Film: Mná & Sons

This new site-responsive 16mm film by Aoife Desmond
combines a critical essay film format with inserted
performance actions.

The film is structured around seasonal changes, documenting
evolving, plant, insect and bird life, development of built works in
progress and transformation of the site from a state of apparent
vacancy to one of temporary inhabitation. Ongoing site research
informs the films form with the inclusion of archive material in the
form of photographs, maps and deeds. Aoife will work with
Denise Woods on additional 16mm cinematography and with
Fiona Sheils on sound design.

Performance series: ‘Gold Woman Never Said This Would Be Easy’

‘Mná & Sons’ will include 16mm documentation of
a series of new site-responsive performance works
by Aoife Desmond.

These performances collectively titled ‘gold woman never said
this would be easy’ draw on a contemporary discomfort in
responding to social and ecological crisis. ‘gold woman’ ritualises
a moment of transition and honours a partially imagined hidden
archaeology of site. These works will be performed at key points
in the solar and earth calendar marking; Imbolc (Febraury 1st),
Spring equinox (March 21st), Bealtaine (May 1st) and Summer
solstice (June 21st).
Contextualised film programme:
‘From blossom to nothing’

A contextualised film programme will be co-curated by Aoife
Desmond + aemi. Designed to hold the new film ‘Mná & Sons’
and expand on its themes, it will include a filmwork by the
English filmmaker Rosalind Fowler who also works with 16mm
and social ecological themes.

Latest News

Inma Pavon Site Responsive Improvised Dance

During the TEST SITE open day on August 11th Inma Pavon performed an improvised…

Sawmill – Site Visit

Images are from site exploration of the old sawmill on Kyrls Quay. Far from…