Castle Veterinary Surgery
A state-of-the-art veterinary surgery has been introduced to Church Street, Downpatrick in Northern Ireland, to meet the growing demands of the client’s expanding business. Previously onsite was a technical college, which following demolition, was transformed into the new building.
The client’s existing premises (not far from this one) had become out-dated and too restrictive to meet the requirements of both the clients and customers of the business. A bespoke design was given to the new surgery after in-depth research had been carried out, to maximise the potential for end-users of the facility.
Practice Principal at Castle Vet Group, Adrian McMullan, told Premier Construction:
“Visits were arranged to all of the large veterinary surgeries in Northern Ireland in order to compile a precise design brief for the project. The facility features a double storey space, and special consideration has been given to disabled users with the integration of ramps, widened doorways, lowered sinks and a lift.”
Matheson Contracts acted as main contractor, with BMCA Architects working on the architectural and design aspects of the project. Developments were finalised by May 2015.
Bernard McAleenan, of BMCA Architects commented:
“The concept for the design was to create a building that successfully combined the exacting functional demands of this building type, within a contemporary and striking aesthetic. This also had to integrate sensitively with its context through the use of respectful forms and materials, create a welcoming and productive internal environment for its users and to ultimately repair the fragmented urban environment, creating a sense of place within this part of Downpatrick.”
The clients purchased the site for approximately £170k and the overall project had a construction budget of £700k. Adhering to this relatively modest budget was critical to the economic viability of the entire project. The project also attracted (approximately) a £200,000 grant award through the ‘Urban Development Grant’ scheme as administered by the Department of Social Development (DSD).
The building is unlike others of its kind, reflecting innovation through design to enhance the overall success of the bespoke development. Castle Veterinary Surgery makes use of double height space, roof lighting, an enclosed external courtyard and large feature windows. The windows with extensive glazing encourages natural light to all internal spaces and along with coherent and legible circulation between spaces, has created a bright and pleasant working environment which enhances productivity and counteracts fatigue for the users.
White painted walls keep the space clean and modest, with modern vinyl flooring and an internal phone system for convenience. Car parking facilities are also available onsite, providing spaces for up to 19 cars.
Interestingly, the overall redevelopment project has acted as a catalyst for further economic activity within this area of the town.
Despite not winning the title, the new development was impressively nominated for the RICS Awards 2016, in both the Community Benefit category and Regeneration category.