Eircom is the principal provider of fixed-line and mobile telecommunications services in Ireland. The Network Management Centre is the critical nerve centre from which the country’s telecommunications network is monitored and managed around the clock, with associated office accommodation for technical support staff. The site at Dublin’s Citywest Digital Park was selected for its strategic location at the first point of connection to the ‘Global Crossing’ high-speed fibre optic cable to the USA. The project also included a 30m telecommunications mast.
For reasons of security and systems resilience, the network operations centre is a largely enclosed and controlled environment, built to contain what at the time was the largest video wall in Europe.
By contrast, almost 600 technical support staff occupy three floors of open plan offices with a fully glazed south facing façade, shaded by brise soleil and affording excellent views.
Separating these principal elements of the brief allowed their diverse performance requirements to be met in the most efficient way, and facilitated the expansion of the building in two phases to deliver a total of 8,200 sq.m.
The office spaces harness passive and active and sustainable technologies including openable windows, mixed-mode displacement ventilation supported by a heat exchanger and stack effect ventilation via internal wintergardens. Passive cooling provided by the thermal mass of exposed concrete ceiling avoids the need for air conditioning.
The running cost of the building is 25% less than a similar air-conditioned building, achieving a three year payback on the cost of the sustainable design features and demonstrating their viability even in this densely occupied call centre environment.