1997 - 1999 (extended 2003)
Citywest Business Park, Dublin 24
Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland / Regional Award
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The building is the nerve centre from which Ireland’s entire telecommunications network is monitored. The Network Management Centre allows network availability to be matched to demand, while at the same time ensuring speedy identification and resolution of network problems. In the design of the building, the network operations centre and the technical support offices are expressed as two distinct elements, and are linked by a glazed reception hall. A 30m high telecommunications mast on a landscaped mound, punctuates the resulting T-shaped plan.
The network operations centre forms the north leg of the T-plan. Enclosed by granite walls, it is virtually windowless for security reasons. This space is the hub of the network. It is manned around the clock, and air-conditioned for comfort. A restaurant is located at ground floor under the network operations centre, and a visitors’ gallery/demonstration area overlooks the centre. The technical support offices in the other leg are open-plan and naturally ventilated. The south façade is fully glazed, and is shaded by brise-soleil and a colonnade, which frames views of the Dublin Mountains. Six service towers act as ‘buffers’ between the motorway and the technical support offices.
The building is energy-efficient, using innovative passive and active environmental control technology. Windows are openable, and the interior planted garden atria create a stack effect which channels warm air out of the building. A mixed-mode displacement ventilation system, coupled with a heat exchanger, provides fresh or warm air through the raised floor. Exposed concrete ceiling panels utilise thermal-mass cooling to avoid the need for air conditioning.