• 9 January 2019

Hotel checks-in to site of Dublin’s former River House

Construction is now underway on the development transforming the site of Dublin’s River House office block.

This long-derelict building will finally be replaced by a striking new hotel, reviving an important plot in central Dublin. With a widely-acknowledged shortfall in hotel bed spaces, the new Hampton by Hilton hotel will help to address this deficit. Situated on the busy intersection of Chancery Street and Greek Street in the city centre, adjacent to the historic Four Courts buildings, the site is currently home to a divisive six-storey concrete framed building dating from the 1970’s. The hotel will be ideally located for visitors to Dublin, being less than 5 minutes’ walk from the main shopping precinct at Henry Street.

Featuring 249 bedrooms over 8 floors, the John Fleming Architects-designed 8,850 m² hotel will bring a new lease of life to the area following nearly a decade of vacancy for the site. Facilities will include a lobby, reception space, breakfast room, fitness room, meeting and function rooms, back office space and ancillary service accommodation. The hotel also accommodates an independent café/restaurant at ground floor and mezzanine level.

A mezzanine level has been incorporated into the design between the double height ground floor and first floor, with the uppermost seventh floor set back from the building perimeter. The development will also see public realm enhancements to Chancery Street and Greek Street.

We provided all civil, structural and transportation services for this prestigious project to client Melonmount, commencing with the provision of advice and engineering design for the preparation of a planning application for the scheme.

Our transportation experts focused on the implementation of a strategy to promote sustainability, enhance public transport and reduce dependency on the private car for staff journeys to work. Accordingly, the development will include cycle parking spaces for staff, a service bay and a taxi set down/collection zone, but no car parking.

The proximity of the LUAS tram to the hotel and excellent city bus services in the area both provide viable alternative means of travel for both staff and guests. The Travel Plan prepared by our team played a key part in the City Council accepting the proposals, including the decision not to provide any car parking within the development.

The building has been designed by our structures team as a concrete frame consisting of elements of in-situ reinforced concrete (RC) and precast concrete. The setback at the uppermost level will be created using a steel frame and a lightweight metal deck roof. We have been novated to D&B Contractor, McNamara, after completing the structural design based on a precast concrete solution above first floor level.

The substructure comprises a single-storey basement, housing the gym, mechanical and electrical plant areas and ancillary hotel operation facilities. The basement will be constructed with a perimeter RC retaining wall, set back from the property boundaries to minimise temporary works and piling. The building will be founded on piles extending into the underlying stiff Dublin boulder clays. Following extensive coordination of construction options with the Contractor, a top-down construction sequence has been decided upon. This approach enables considerable programme savings, benefiting both Contractor and hotel operator. Initially, piles, strengthened with embedded steel sections, will be used to support reinforced concrete columns that will be cast up to the first floor transfer slab. Reinforced concrete shear walls will provide temporary stability. The first floor transfer slab will be cast ahead of the 7-level precast concrete superstructure. Excavation and construction of the basement, ground floor and mezzanine floors will be carried out at the same time that the precast concrete frame is being assembled overhead. The two work flows are programmed to complete in a similar timeframe, making a significant time-savings on the overall construction programme.

James Fegan, Associate, commented: “We are delighted to be involved with this much-needed new hotel in Dublin City Centre. We’ve worked closely with Melonmount and McNamara Construction to condense the construction programme through our top-down structures approach, which will benefit all parties. The scheme will also be highly-sustainable and represents a new benchmark in sustainable transport for city-centre hotels.”

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