Thomond Park Rugby Stadium, Limerick

  • Client: Munster Branch, Irish Rugby Football Union
  • Architect: Murray O’Laoire Architects/AFL Architects
  • Value(€ million): 40
  • Value($ million): 55
  • Completion date: 2007
  • PUNCH services: Civil, Structural
  • Awards: The Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland Regional (RIAI) People’s Choice Award 2009

PUNCH Consulting Engineers provided Civil and Structural engineering services on the landmark development.  The 26,000 seater stadium features a 150.0m clear spanning roof structure.  The ground enclosure and stand geometry are such that an ideal pin ended arch form would have required enormous, indeed overpowering, tall massive plinths at each stand gable.  The idea of combining the structural action of a truss and portal frame was developed to generate a manageable and elegant pin detail close to ground level.

PUNCH Consulting Engineers worked closely with architects Murray O’Laoire and AFL Architects on the design of the re-developed Thomond Park in the south west of Ireland.  At a cost of €40 million, the historic Limerick venue was transformed into a 26,000 capacity stadium, doubling its original capacity.  Innovative structural engineering techniques combined with distinctive architecture were used to produce a stadium that will stand out as a proud home for Munster Rugby and a new city landmark.

An important cost-saving measure proposed by PUNCH Consulting Engineers was to procure a wind tunnel test of the stadium.  While not a new technology, this was the first use of wind tunnel testing for any structure in Ireland.  Results from this test allowed a reduction in static wind loading on the primary and secondary structure of approximately 30% relative to the code.  This yielded significant savings on the tonnage of steel used for the roof, in addition to the reduction in the volume of concrete used to stabilise the stands.

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