Client: Shorelark Limited
Architect: Henry J. Lyons
Services Provided: C&S Engineering Services
Category: Leisure & Hotels
Project Completed: 2001
This key site close to Galway city centre was not accessible and depended on the construction of a new link road to unlock the potential of the area.
Following construction of the new link road between Lough Atalia and Forster Street a number of other large developments were able to follow the hotel development.
The development of the site which was at a high level relative to existing road infrastructure to north and south involved a huge quantity of excavation; and effectively removed a sizable hill.
The 4 Star Hotel included a 276 space two storey basement car park, a large 34m clear span function room, ground floor foyer, restaurant, kitchen and bar facilities. The entrance set down area is over the basement car park and is designed within tight headroom restrictions to support public road traffic.
The function room incorporates high specification acoustic folding walls. The support of these walls involved careful consideration of roof structure deflection over such a large span with floor clearances being maintained tight enough to allow locking of acoustic seals yet guaranteeing non-stick operation under all loading conditions.
Three bedroom blocks accommodating 217 bedrooms rise four stories above ground floor. A cast in-situ flat slab suited the developer/builders programme and buildability requirements.
Three bedroom blocks accommodating 217 bedrooms rise four stories about ground floor. A cast in-situ flat slab suited the developer/builders programme and buildability requirements. Bathroom pods were used throughout these blocks. The installation route of the pods was carefully considered as their delivery to site did not occur until the frame was complete. A continuous recessed “trackway” or well was incorporated into the central bay of the flat slabs. This allowed sliding in of the pods from the gable ends and also optimised structural performance as the slab was effectively thicker on the outer bays where the bending moments are higher.
The construction pace was fast and furious; from initial issue of foundation bending schedules to issue of bedroom roof slab bending schedules (seven levels, 20,000sq. m) took just either months.
The foyer opens into a four storey atrium with clear views from the entrance right through to Lough Atalia and Galway Bay beyond. The four storey glass wall is suspended from an eaves truss concealed at high level in the parapet. This same truss supports a high level clear spanning function room over the atrium which has spectacular views over Galway Bay and the Aran Islands.
13 metre footbridges span the foyer at each of four levels; while each individually meets code of practice requirements for deflection they are linked vertically by slender tubes integrated into balustrades thus effectively tripling the effect stiffness for most practical loading conditions.
A pair of glass lifts links the foyer to upper floors. The central tube carrying lift gear is stabilised by a single slender stalk off each floor slab maintaining for most practical loading conditions.
A multipurpose space suitable for nightclub and similar uses was developed during construction. This included 17m clear spans with full public access loading on the roof terrace overhead and subsequently a mini-golf course.
During construction a substantial leisure centre was added to the brief immediately adjacent to the hotel. This included a spayed reinforced concrete pool suspended over a wellness centre. It is set again the excavated face of the site using a contiguous piled retaining wall.
After completion and opening; a fourth floor of bedrooms was added using lightweight cold formed steel framing.