National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin

  • Client: Office of Public Works
  • Architect: Heneghan Peng
  • Awards: RIAI Cultural/Public Building of the Year 2018. Heritage and Conservation Project of the Year Winner - Engineers Ireland Excellence Awards 2017

PUNCH were the civil and structural engineers on this prestigious project which has been ongoing since 2005. The Refurbishment and Restoration of the National Gallery of Ireland was recognised by Engineers Ireland for its complex and innovative design solutions that has resulted in a the entire Gallery Complex being reopened to the public in 2016 and has become a new restored and modernised home for Irish Creatives. The overall project can be broken into three parts:

1. The Dargan Wing Roof Refurbishment (Complete 2012)

This phase consisted of renovation to 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 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 elements.

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 along with testing to assess the structural adequacy of the roof to facilitate the new roof finishes, services and access walkways 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.

2. Historic Wings Refurbishment (Complete 2016)

The second phase entails the provision for the refurbishment of the Historic Wings of the National Gallery of Ireland. It includes full renovation of the oldest sections (Dargan Wing originally constructed 1860 and the Milltown Wing constructed 1906) of the Gallery, replacement of the roof over Milltown Wing, renovation and reinstatement of the roof over the main historic Merrion Entrance, provision of the new Atrium space and roof between Dargan & Milltown Wings, and a new Energy Centre and landscaping in the Forecourt.

This major civil engineering contract involved underpinning this historic building to a depth of up to 4m below existing foundations, in order to facilitate the installation of a new temperature-controlled ventilation system for the gallery. The lower ground floors were removed and the space below houses the extensive network of ducting for the ventilation system. A new exhibition level has been created between the Dargan and Milltown wings with a glazed roof over. This is new space for the gallery and one that is badly needed to exhibit some of the items which are currently in storage.

The main refurbishment works were preceded by an enabling works contract involving relocation of the existing security room, installation of new boiler, generator and all associated works.

3. Beit Wing, New Building and connection into Millennium Wing.

The final phase of the project, which was submitted for planning in 2008, will involve the refurbishment of the Beit Wing, the construction of a new building within an existing courtyard, and the formation of a link to the Millennium Wing.

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