Architects - Niall Mclaughlin
Main Contractors - Flynn
Flooring contractors - Mediterranean Design Centre Ltd
41,500 Light multi quarry tiles 215 x 102.5 and 3500 Staffordshire blue quarry tiles
The design approach for the home of this brand new interactive visitor experience, was to consider the project as a new civic building. Niall Mclaughlin Architects referenced Georgian streetscapes, churches and town halls, and used brickwork both inside and out, to both complement and enhance the historic red brick terraces in the area.
The beautiful , 7 storey, contemporary, brick building provides a retail area and cafe, a double height entrance hall, flexible exhibition, education and event space as well as a large public hall at the top from where there are panoramic views across the city. The architects opted for a solid construction, and chose a special mixed blend of 3 handmade bricks from Michelmersh Brick Holdings PLC which were used in a combination of pre-cast panels as well as traditional brickwork. Externally the building has a sculptural quality with deep vertical brick piers broken up by horizontal elements which span between the piers creating a series of recessed bays.
Both inside and out, the building feels very "bricky". Expressing structural and vertical forces found in the game of rugby was a key part of the design, and the brick and vault detailing inside the building reflects these forces and provides a link to the building's function. Ketley clay quarry tiles are used throughout for the floors, in a Staffordshire light multi to provide the best match to the Michelmersh brick walls. Ketley's subtle colour variations obtained through expert control of the kiln atmosphere matched in well with the walls giving a sense that the interior spaces are carved out of a solid brick mass. As bricks are fundamental to the design of the building, the architects set out the design to brick dimensions, which achieves a very neat result and minimises both cutting and waste.
This new brick building is a wonderful new landmark in the Georgian Quarter of Limerick.