Scott Tallon Walker

Carroll's Factory



Dundalk, Co. Louth

Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland / Gold Medal - Highly Commended
1968 - 1970

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The Carroll Company had been in the tobacco business in Dundalk town since 1824. In 1967 it was decided to relocate to a 30 acre site outside town. The new production facility was to be a showcase for the emergence of the confident Irish industrial sector, with an excellent working environment and to easily accommodate future expansion. 

The fundamental concept of the building is very simple – the repetition of a single structural bay, a 67ft 6 inch square steel structural unit capable of expansion in a multi cellular way on any one of its four sides. The span was designed to obtain an economic truss depth of 7’6”, in effect providing a second floor over the entire factory of a height suitable to house all environmental control services. The size of the bay, providing an uninterrupted floor space of 5,000 sq.ft. column free, was very suitable for the production areas. The same structural bay is used in the office areas of the building, with a separate concrete structure set within the steel building, giving two levels of office space. This has achieved a lively result without interrupting the simplicity of expression derived from the steel multi-cellular system.  

Of particular interest is the development of an economic cruciform column placed in the external wall whose structural value is variable, so that by simple modification it can be either an internal or an external column. The column is clearly expressed as ‘open-ended’; the building is therefore in a sense incomplete. But its form is always conceptually affirmed and can be reaffirmed when added to. The success of the multi-cellular concept can be understood when one considers that the building has been expanded twice over the years, and one is not aware now where the expansions occurred.