Leap, a village in County Cork, is located near the southern tip of Ireland. The town’s full name of “O’Donovans Leap” is adopted from the story of an Irish chieftain who, pursued by British soldiers, escaped by jumping on horseback across a deep ravine located here. The village is home to a collection of bars and the beloved music venue Connolly’s of Leap. The venue’s building is historic to the region, having functioned as a pub since 1810, and it has championed providing live music through three family generations - the current owners and operators of the Connolly’s of Leap, were both born and raised in the building. The venue was closed to the public from 2006 until 2015, when it was reopened with a renewed enthusiasm to support musicians.
This competition tasked participants with envisioning a concept for a renovation and programmatic extension of the Connolly’s of Leap venue. The site, located on a steep hill next to the storied ravine and a waterfall, contains the existing music venue building and family quarters, as well as a collection of outbuildings today used for storage. Participants were challenged to re-think the site and its ability to offer a unique setting for musical performance in two ways: first the refurbishment of the existing venue with the possibility of altering it with design interventions; and second, an expansion within the site to include the following recommended programs: an external performance zone with a bar, a cafe or restaurant, external seating area, a recording lab, management offices, a creative workshop and studio spaces, exhibition spaces, a waterfall viewing deck, parking, guest quarters for visiting artists, and a sound engineering booth for stage. This list of programs was left open to interpretation and modification by each participant.
Several factors were considered by the jury while reviewing the submissions. Those which were considerate of the landscape, as well as the integrity and spirit of the existing venue, were reviewed favorably. The jury also gave importance to design which acknowledged the ravine, waterfall, and neighborhood context. The winning proposals offer flexible building plans, and programs which test new ideas for viewing and performing. Bee Breeders would like to thank all participants for their submissions, and looks forward to further development of Connolly’s of Leap’s site and venue.