PUNCH Examples of how the structure of the building carried out architectural, structural and environmental roles include the use of a structural timber Brise Soleil system to support the glazed wall of the atrium. This glazing is supported on a timber truss which is suspended from the roof and propped at ground level. In addition to providing structural support the timber trusses also provide solar shading to the atrium thus reducing solar gain. The use of long structural overhangs to the single storey elements also provides significant solar shading on a glazed façade. Precast concrete light shelves were incorporated into the rear elevation and achieve the double role of solar shading to the storey below and assists light penetration into the storey above. In keeping with the sustainable solutions in the main building, the use of structural timber retaining walls across the site were also utilised where possible to reduce the volume of concrete required. Another sustainable solution adopted by the design team was achieved by maximising the night-time cooling effect with an exposed concrete slab. This slab is sculpted to maximise surface area while encouraging the flow of air across the soffit and providing an attractive architectural finish.
The Limerick County Council offices, completed in 2003, provide over 7,000m2 of accommodation for the local authority in a purpose built state of the art facility. This low energy, naturally ventilated building, uses the large surface area of a side atrium to create a stack effect which draws cooler air across exposed concrete soffits and helps to regulate the internal temperature. The choice of material for each location was subjected to rigorous examination to minimise embodied energy. Every design decision was made after inputs from all members of the design team and other stakeholders were considered.
Through a close working relationship between PUNCH Consulting Engineers and the rest of the design team, this landmark project was a great success. This is reflected in the achievement of The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Award 2004.Back to Offices
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