Custom House Plaza

Project: Custom House Plaza, Dublin
Completion Date: 1997
Client: Deakin & Fordlea
Project Value: €37.0m
Services Provided: Full Civil and Structural Engineering
Project Size: 16,000 m2 with 250 basement car spaces

Project Description

With a floor-to-floor height of 6.5m and a depth of 37m the building did not readily lend itself to conversion into an office development befitting the potential of its location. Demolition may have looked inevitable but recycling would be more attractive and innovative if an economic buildable structural solution could be achieved.

Originally designed by Garland in 1958 in association with the Office of Public Works, the Central Sorting Office was a 11,000m² three storey industrial building with 1,400m² of office accommodation at the west end and a 1,500m² single storey garage at the east end. This project involved the recycling of the Central Sorting Office into the prestigious Custom House Plaza Office Development. Our client had a very simple brief for the project; to design it “specifically constructed for occupiers of international repute requiring the highest standards of accommodation and capable of incorporating the latest technology/communications system”.

The first floor and low-level roof were retained. The existing second floor was removed and three new floors were added to the roof. The existing ground floor was also lowered to provide a semi-basement car park. In summary, the three storey industrial building was transformed into a 16,000m², six-storey office block over a 250-space car park, constructed at a cost of £29m. The project was constructed in two phases, over a two-year period and was completed in 1999. The double height stone clad entrance foyer leads to a central linear glass atrium 130m long, carved out of the original structure. This atrium is the spine of the development forming an “internal street” which is the pedestrian route to all 6 Plazas, extending right through the development. The new floors were constructed as a 270mm thick reinforced concrete flat slab, supported on universal column stubs welded to both new and existing columns within the depth of the slab. Garland received a Very Highly Commended Citation in the 2001 Association of Consulting Engineers of Ireland Excellence Awards.

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