Home of maths genius George Boole set for grand design

Architects have released the first image of their plans for the refurbished home of maths genius George Boole — the father of modern computer science.

The former lodgings of George Boole which have fallen into disrepair in recent years.

The image has been released ahead of the lodging of a Part 8 planning process to kickstart the first phase of its regeneration.

A computer generated image of the planned refurbished building at 5 Grenville Place, the former home of George Boole.

The project is a joint partnership between Cork City Council and University College Cork which, this year, is celebrating the 200th anniversary of Boole’s birth.

It is hoped the building will be largely restored by the end of this year, before it is handed over to UCC for development as a visitor centre and an incubator hub for hi-tech start-ups, inspired by similar facilities in Silicon Valley.

Following his appointment in 1849 as the first professor of mathematics at Queen’s College, Cork — now UCC — George Boole lodged at 5 Grenville Place.

It was here in 1854 where Boole signed off on his famous book, The Laws of Thought in November 1854.

Described as a work of genius in mathematical logic, it presented the laws of Boolean algebra which used symbols to show how the human brain processes information.

His concepts were used by scientists almost a century ago to develop the universal computer language of binary digits, or bits, used to transfer data in digital form.

This concept, underpinned by Boolean algebra devised in 5 Grenville Place, ultimately led to the development of switches and circuits, coding, and computing, and our modern digital age.

While Boole’s work is at the root of it all, his former lodgings at Grenville Place had fallen into disrepair in recent years. A protected structure, the property was declared derelict in 2009 and suffered a partial collapse of internal floors in October 2010.

The council undertook stabilisation works to prevent further damage but despite talks with UCC, efforts to restore the building stalled, mainly over lack of funding.

However, when UCC declared 2015 the year of Boole, the regeneration plans became a reality.

Planning permission will be sought soon for the first phase — €600,000 of structural works to restore the building’s external and internal fabric. It will then be handed over to UCC for the rest of the work.

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