Just two months after its completion and in the same month that Nordic Aviation Capital officially came on board as its first tenant, the stunning Henry Street building, Hanging Gardens, was a winner in the New Build Workplace category in the prestigious Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland annual awards. The state-of-the-art commercial office development, which is the first major build in the Limerick Twenty Thirty programme, was designed by Carr Cotter Naessens and Denis Byrne Architects, who received the award at a gala ceremony in Dublin.
The awards, in their thirtieth year, are the most sought-after by Irish architects and being selected among the winners is a major moment for the architects and the project. Limerick Twenty Thirty CEO David Conway said:
“We knew we had a very special design here at Hanging Gardens but winning this award is an emphatic statement as to how special it is. These awards are the most prestigious in the industry and are huge recognition for everyone involved.
“Carr Cotter Naessens and Denis Byrne Architects, led by Louise Cotter took on a historic old building in a state of dilapidation and the half-built shell of a new building directly behind it and came back with a brilliant design that has been finished to the highest standards they set. In environmental terms, it’s a LEED Gold building but it’s a gold standard building in every other respect as well.”
The development, which comprises the sensitive restoration of historic structures with almost 10,000m2 of sustainable contemporary workspaces in the heart of Limerick City, sets a new standard for commercial building in the region.
The design strategy was based on the need to reconcile the fragments of historic fabric with the new and contemporary, and in so doing create a coherent assembly of workspaces and gardens that speak the language of the city.
The characteristically rational and elegant grid form of Georgian streets and squares in Newtown Pery was established in the 18th century. This is the location of Gardens International, or the original Roche’s Hanging Gardens.
The first design exercise was to look at the disparate elements and how they might interact to form a cohesive whole, particularly at the level of the street, and secondly to examine how each the design of each discrete element may be developed in a clear, rigorous and authentic idiom that fulfils the functional, economic and sustainable goals of the project while respecting the legacy of the site and remaining historic structures.
The juxtaposition of historic fragments, unfinished concrete frame and new site has been mined for opportunities to make generous volumes and open spaces.
Overall, there was an opportunity to acknowledge the green legacy of the historic Hanging Gardens by providing a truly sustainable place in the heart of the city, by the creation of green open spaces for the occupants with good daylight and views, but also by the adaptive re-use of built fabric. An integrated sustainable design process creates social, environmental and economic benefits for both current and future users.
Louise Cotter of Carr Cotter Naessens said:
“This is very proud moment for Carr Cotter Naessens and Denis Byrne Architects. The project has been a challenge from the beginning but one we have relished. The project is more than a building; it is a piece of city, a collage of old and new. Our task was to reconcile the fragments of historic fabric with contemporary structures and in doing so to create a coherent assembly of workspaces
and gardens that tell a story that is unique to Limerick. The end result is something we are delighted with and receiving this award validates the rigorous work of our team.”