For the latest installment of Final Frame, the RIBA’s Shiri Webb writes about Ahrends Burton & Koralek’s Brutalist library building…

Concrete-furnished second-floor carrels, Berkeley Library, Trinity College, Dublin

Concrete-furnished second-floor carrels,
Berkeley Library, Trinity College, Dublin, 1967.
Architect: Ahrends Burton & Koralek
Photographer: John Donat
© John Donat / RIBA Library Photographs Collection

“This Wicklow granite-clad university library calls out to all Le Corbusier fans through its simple shape and form to its heavy concrete surfaces. Ahrends Burton & Koralek won Dublin’s Open International 1960 competition to build Berkeley Library and it was later completed in 1967, situated amongst an 18th-century backdrop of buildings by Thomas Burgh and Sir William Chambers. The building adopts qualities of Le Corbusier’s Saint-Marie-de-la-Tourette with its abstract, decorative concrete features. It was, however, criticised for not harmonising with its surroundings, though Koralek was adamant that he wanted to create a building that represented the 20th century just as well as Deane and Woodward’s museum at Trinity College represented the 19th century. The choices of stone and curved windows do show that Koralek was making an attempt at echoing earlier buildings around it.”

Shiri Webb
Photographer and Digital Imager, British Architectural Library, RIBA


Over 70,000 architectural images available to view on RIBApix.

About Wilson Yau
I work for the British Architectural Library at the RIBA as part of a team to share news, images and information online about the activities of the Library and the fascinating items we have in our architectural collections – it contains over four million items, so there's plenty to see! If you’re curious about what we do at the Library and with the collections, or want to discover the latest about our education programmes, public events and exhibitions at the RIBA, please visit

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