In March 2020, many of Ireland’s buildings became off limits due to public health restrictions. A year later, as Ireland moved to open public buildings after a difficult and isolating pandemic year, VISUAL launched an open call for an installation that would announce that VISUAL was once again a place of welcome. Following an open call, architects Jeffrey Bolhuis, Laurence Lord, and Emmett Scanlon were appointed to make SkyFold at VISUAL’s front door and facing College Park.
With SkyFold, the trio of architects wanted to re-emphasise the relationship between people, buildings, and the natural environment. As people began to gather again following a year of intense awareness of individual space and limits, the architects used SkyFold to support social contact, blurring boundaries visually and spatially. This blurring happens at two scales – the scale of the VISUAL building and at the scale of the visitor.
Using reflective mirrored vinyl applied to the existing facade, the glass walls of the building are 'folded' into the sky. The new mirrored surface reflects the colour and tone of the ever-changing Carlow sky. As it does, the familiar form and shapes of the building change depending on the weather by day, or the pattern of lighting inside by night.