Weiss Architecture Studio

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IRFU Headquarters

Irish Rugby approached Chapman Architects to produce a feasibility and concept design to test the relocation of their Headquarters Building to the National Sports Campus in Blanchardstown, Dublin, from its existing location at Lansdowne Road. The National Sports Campus would provide state-of-the-art sports facilities to elite athletes in Ireland and the local surrounding communities.

As part of the proposed relocation, the team investigated the masterplan of the immediate area, which would incorporate:

  • A proposed headquarters building for Irish Rugby;
  • 3 Rugby Pitches and a Pavilion changing and storage facility;
  • A connection to The National Indoor Sports Arena;
  • The potential to accommodate a warehouse for use by Irish Rugby;
  • A potential new building to accommodate a number of sports National Governing Boards, known as the NGB;
  • The provision of a separate, shared café and gym facility.

All of the above to be set within a landscaped area which would provide a heart for the Campus. The building would accommodate approximately 175 people in an open plan and cellular configuration

The site, located at the heart of the National Sports Campus was currently flat open field land, with an existing attenuation pond. The main access road to the campus was sited to the northern boundary and provided great views across the site. At the heart of the campus, there was an opportunity to provide a central café and gym for the surrounding office buildings and an additional headquarters building for the National Governing Bodies for Irish Sport and to include parking for 150 cars.

The overriding aim of the masterplan was to create a pleasant setting for the new headquarters building and its potential neighbour, the NGB building, both of which would share a common café facility and gymnasium. As a result, the proposal for the three buildings are set around a central ‘wetland landscape’ incorporating ‘walks’ along its edges to allow access for the Campus as a whole. The wetland area itself is formed from the retention pond and would be required to mediate water run-off from the neighbouring developments.

The headquarters building, incorporating the IRFU brief, was designed on a grid, with two simple cores and open plan office areas that would allow for a cost effective but also high-quality working space. The grid design allows for repetition of the structure. The atrium incorporates meeting spaces and adds drama due to its views over the landscape of the site. The boardroom situated at third floor roof level, provides a view over the roof scape of the building and over the campus beyond.