Advanced Office Building
Shortlisted in the 2019 Irish Building & Design Awards in the category of Commercial/Office Building of the Year, Downes Associates was appointed to undertake the Civil and Structural design of a new Advanced Office Building, alongside main contractors Stewart Construction who were appointed under a Design & Build Contract with Architects Arthur Gibney & Partners and our client, Finegrain Property.
Speaking to PREMIER CONSTRUCTION MAGAZINE, Enda Kelly from Stewart Construction said: “This new Advanced Office Building in the Parkmore East Business Campus is the fifth building in the cluster with blocks one to four also delivered by Stewart Construction, including fast track fit outs for their high calibre international tenants. Parkmore is a commercial hub for leading international clients, forming a vital cog on the Atlantic Seaboard infrastructure, with connectivity to the M6, M17 and Galway city centre.”
The brief for the project was clear – to provide a highly economical, LEED Gold Standard Certified, architecturally unique office building capable of being fully constructed within one year. Having assessed a number of feasible structural schemes using a variety of materials, the decision was made to utilise a steel framed structure.
After preparing an initial structural scheme, advanced structural analysis software was used to refine the design to an absolute optimum. With Downes Associates having a keen interest in lean and minimalist construction, they set about developing their own brief for the structure which was to make the building appear as though not one single element could be removed. The outcome of this approach resulted in a strikingly slender steel skeleton which utilised the least amount of material possible and greatly benefited the programme.
The core area contains the entrance lobby, the main access stairs and passenger lifts, all inside a glazed atrium area which links through at ground level from the front entrance through to the rear car park entrance and acts as the central architectural element of the development, with a vertical emphasis in contrast with the horizontal aspect of the office wings.
The entrance foyer features a bespoke steel staircase designed and detailed by Downes Associates. Columns were not permitted within the fully glazed stair void, which presented a considerable structural challenge. A bespoke structural solution was devised to achieve the impressive look that met the client’s brief for a floating stairs.
At the outer end of each of the office wings are secondary escape stairs forming solid bookends to the more transparent office areas. The central core area of each office wing is accessed from this area, while the WC and service cores are located in a solid grey stone clad element adjacent to the circulation routes.
The main plant room is located on the upper level of this part of the building which assists in giving the corner a vertical emphasis.
The office areas are open plan with floor to ceiling glazing. The office wing is framed by a solid rendered surround, tying the three floors together as a single element with timber feature columns running three storeys in height.
A client requirement from the outset was to achieve LEED Gold Standard. This was achieved comfortably upon completion, much to the satisfaction of the client. The primary contributions to the LEED Gold Standard from a structural perspective involved minimal waste and the use of GGBS and 99% recycled steel reinforcement in all concrete elements.
The LEED Gold Standard Building brings a new standard of high quality workspace to the Parkmore area. The circa 5,000 square metres of office space has been met with great interest from local and international businesses. The LEED Gold Standard building promotes sustainable methods of transportation with a number of LEED points gained primarily by the site’s location within walking distance of numerous bus stops, provision of electric charging points and bicycle parking. The construction, fit out and end use have brought a significant number of jobs to the area, both in the short and the long term.
Enda added: “The project was delivered to all stakeholders requirements and all expressed immense satisfaction with the end product.
“As this was a Design & Build Project, a collaborative approach was taken from the outset working closely with our Design Team and the client to ensure all elements of the project were delivered to the client’s satisfaction.”