Studio Negri completes Energy Upgrade and Change of Use at Oak House for the Irish Wheelchair Association.
The recently refurbished centre provides a flexible, high quality service with full health & safety requirements that offer people opportunities and supports that enable them to enhance their quality of life and maximise participation in their local community.
The office and computer assembly plant was built in 1982 by the IDA in Mahon Point for a US computer manufacturer. It was intended to move the European Sales and Marketing operation from Brussels to Cork.
The Application was for a Change of Use from Light Industrial to a Resource and Outreach Centre comprised of offices, kitchen/ dining, arts and craft, therapy, meeting and administration facilities. The main intervention include the reduction in level of existing car parking by 500mm to ensure all services are fully accessible, the removal of linear planter and new canopy & entrance door.
The energy upgrades include internal insulation to walls and floor, new glazing and highly efficient boiler.
The minimum requirements for the Resource Centre included:
- Ground floor unit with no level variations
- Secure and level access in the approach and entrance to the building
- Safe evacuation possibilities
- Safe area for set-down of wheel-chairs users from cars, vans and minibuses
People are supported to participate in local cultural and community events and to become active citizens in their local community.
The grounds have an allotment where service users have been learning how to grow produce and work alongside other groups to enhance local inclusion.
The centre works in partnership with the Disability Education Network in Cork to secure tutor funding from the Cork Education & Training Board. It allows FETAC 3 programmes to be run with significant learning outcomes. Examples of these programmes include music appreciation, drama, consumer awareness, personal Effectiveness and Communication.
The ethos is to empower service users to maximise their quality of life and be independent in their local community. Service users have easy access to Mahon Point Shopping Centre, the Post Office, Credit Union, Blackrock Castle and its adjoining paths.
Services such as physiotherapy, group therapy sessions, chiropody and speech & language are offered both to local service users and also to the wider community. This along with the hosting of events has the effect of making the service an integral part of the community.
The aim is to provide a modern service that is integral for the delivery of services to people with physical disabilities in Cork.