Limerick Opera House site design changes to meet sustainability rules

Computer-generated image of the original Opera sitemap

DESIGN changes to key elements of the Opera Site development in Limerick City Center are the subject of a planning amendment submitted to An Bord Pleanála by Limerick City and County Council on Friday.

The application to the Planning Appeal Board was made by Limerick Twenty Thirty on behalf of council and involves changes to the main Opera Square building, Central Library and area from the public domain.

The submission says the changes are necessary to meet the latest sustainability requirements and provide improved design standards in keeping with the town’s Georgian heritage.

A four-week public information period will continue until Friday December 2, when information boards will be displayed in the council buildings at Merchants Quay and Dooradoyle, as well as at the Limerick Twenty Thirty office at Gardens International on Henry Street.

The change to the planning of the main building in Place de l’Opera is necessitated by the latest statutory regulations on Near Zero Energy Buildings (NZEB) which have been introduced since the planning was granted in February 2020.

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Due to new regulations, the all-glazed design of the 14-story building no longer meets sustainability requirements and needs to be replaced.

The amendment also provides for a series of other improvements to buildings and public realm areas to provide higher sustainability standards on the 3.7-acre site.

These include changes to the facade design of the Limerick Central Library building, as well as reconfigured building cores, stairs and lifts. The allowance for renewable energy sources for heating and cooling in the building is also included in the amendment.

Other changes include moving the cafe from the basement to the ground floor to improve plaza and outdoor terrace activation, as well as widening the traffic-only decks to create usable galleries overlooking the atrium and the public domain.

Alterations will also be made to the Four Opera Square office building in the center of the site, including changes to the facade design to meet sustainability regulations, in addition to the reconfigured building core, stairs and elevators.

Changes to the public realm will also include increased social amenities, biodiversity and sustainability measures in public spaces, as well as an improved mirror pool, increased vegetation including wall greening for better biodiversity, as well as as native and pollinator-friendly plantings.

There will also be stormwater management using sustainable water management strategies including rain gardens, water mitigation and rainwater harvesting.

Meanwhile, the final phase of the 18-month rehabilitation and demolition work – the largest ever undertaken in Limerick – is underway and will culminate in a special program to secure the two most vulnerable of the 16 heritage protected buildings. kept on the Place de l’Opéra. to place.

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Rozella J. Cook