Backweston Food Safety Centre, Kildare

  • Client: The Department of Agriculture
  • Architect: Office of Public Works (OPW) Architect
  • Value(€ million): 21
  • Value($ million): 29
  • PUNCH services: Civil, Structural

The three fingers of the office wings are centred around a central atrium hub, containing the main entrance and feature stairs. The building is 2/3 stories in height, and has been designed for possible future expansion.  PUNCH Consulting Engineers designed the structural frame of the building in concrete with precast concrete floors and a lightweight steel roof. The drainage system for the development was designed to tie in with the existing drainage system for the campus, where a number of ponds have been formed in the landscaping.  Attenuation of surface water flows is provided in the ponds, rather than by underground storage systems.

Located on the existing Backweston campus in Co.Kildare, the Food Safety Centre provides c.6000m2 of state-of-the-art office facilities for the Department of Agriculture. The architecture of the project reflects the architecture of the nearby State Laboratory – both are located on the Backweston campus and both were designed by the OPW architects department. The State Laboratory won an Opus Award in 2005, and the quality and attention to detail in this building is carried though to the Food Safety Centre.

A particular objective of the project was to provide an environmentally friendly and user friendly office environment. PUNCH worked with the rest of the design team to provide sustainable solutions including natural ventilation to cool the space and openable sections to the extensive strip windows, so staff can adjust their local environment to suit their own comfort levels. There was extensive use of different wood species such as iroko, ash and oak – all sourced from sustainable sources.  The resulting space is a fine example of modern sustainable design which PUNCH always aspires to.  Landscaping formed a significant part of the project, with extensive planting and earthworks used to provide a pleasant environment for staff. The attenuation ponds were planted with 30,000 plants to encourage the re-development of the natural ecology of the area.

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