National Gallery of Ireland Refurbishment


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Project Details

Client: Office of Public Works

Architect: Heneghan Peng Architects


Phase 1 - € 2.1M
Phase 2 - € 38M
Phase 3 - € TBC

Services Provided: C&S Engineering Services

Category: Conservation

Project Duration: 2012 – 2017

Project Description

The National Gallery on Merrion Square is over 150 years old and houses the largest collection of fine art in the state. In order to bring the gallery up to the standards of a modern international gallery, a significant investment was needed in the fabric of the building.
At the end of 2008, a planning application for the full redevelopment scheme for the National Gallery was lodged with Dublin City Council. This major scheme, valued at over €70m, included a new energy centre, the refurbishment of the Dargan, Milltown and Beit Wings, a New Wing and a connection into Millennium Wing.

Phase 1: Dargan Wing Roof Refurbishment

The first phase in 2012 consisted of the renovation of the Dargan Wing roof, much of which dates back to the original construction.
To accommodate the first phase of works a temporary roof was required to be installed over the existing roof by the contractor. This allowed works to the existing roof to be carried out while protecting the historic fabric of the building from the weather.
The main structural works required the existing timber roof trusses to be assessed structurally to accommodate the upgrade to the roof. A new access walkway was also required to be incorporated within the timber trusses. These works required both a visual inspection long with testing to assess the structural adequacy of the roof to facilitate the new roof finishes, services and access walkway loads. Due to the historic nature of the building the upgrade works were designed and detailed to ensure the original appearance and structural design intent was not compromised.

Phase 2: Historic Wings (Dargan & Milltown) Refurbishment

The second phase entailed the provision for the refurbishment of the roof over Milltown Wing, renovation and reinstatement of the roof over the main entrance, provision of the new atrium space and roof between Dargan & Milltown Wings, and a new energy centre and landscaping in the forecourt. The main refurbishments works was preceded by an enabling works contract involving relocation of the existing security room, installation of new boiler, generator and all associated works.
This was a major civil engineering project which involved underpinning this historic building to a depth of 2.5m below existing foundations in order to facilitate the installation of a new temperature controlled ventilation system for the gallery. The plant for this was housed in the new Energy Centre which was sunk into the ground below the landscaped lawn to the front of the building – thereby removing it completely from view and preserving the available floor space in the gallery.
The extensive network of ducting for the ventilation system was carefully integrated into the existing building. An entirely new internal exhibition level was created between the Dargan and Milltown Wings with a glazed roof over. Windows which had been sealed up in the past were reopened to allow natural light into the building again. The fully refurbished historic wings were reopened to the public in 2017.

Phase 3: Beit Wing & New Build

The final phase of the redevelopment of the National Gallery will entail the refurbishment of the Beit Wing, the construction of a New Building in an existing courtyard space, and a connection into Millennium Wing.

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