The refurbishment and extension of an existing low quality building to create a civic building of distinction more appropriate to its location at the entrance to a new pedestrianised urban quarter in Kilkenny.
The building is comprised of; Office area 1,075 m2, Reception / Entrance Lobby 75 m2, Restaurant 67 m2, and associated toilet, heating and communications facilities.
2,015 m² (21,690 ft²)
Existing Floor Area 1,145m² (12,324ft² )
Proposed Floor Area 1,436m² (15,457ft² )
The Mayfair Building was originally constructed as a ballroom and first opened its doors on St. Stephen’s night, 1943. During the 1950s, 60s and 70s the Mayfair Ballroom was Kilkenny’s social hotspot. It was a very good ballroom and the venue for many important events including the Golf Ball, Rugby Ball and the Kilkenny County Council dance with music by many outstanding bands. It continued as such until 1973 when it closed. Shortly afterwards the building was acquired by the St. Francis Abbey Brewery and was used predominantly as a Staff Canteen and Locker Room with some office accommodation. The new use lead to several poorly conceived extensions of the building until the closure of the Brewery in 2010.
While not a protected structure the Mayfair Building could be considered to be part of Kilkenny’s social heritage. More importantly it is located within; (a) the City Centre Architectural Conservation Area, (b) an area of archaeological potential, and (c) is immediately adjacent to Kilkenny’s City Wall (a Recorded Monument) dating from 1275 and (d) adjacent to St.Francis Abbey (a National Monument and Protected Structure) dating from 1234.
The site sits on the bank of the River Bregagh, with the Kilkenny City Wall forming the edge to the southern river bank. The site offers an opportunity to create a new urban space that will form a strong termination to Parliament street at the bridge crossing.
From a building perspective the redevelopment focussed on the provision of naturally ventilated, well lit, flexible office space that would achieve a BREEAM Excellent rating. From an urban design perspective the redevelopment focussed on the remodelling of the building form to create a civic building which will become a gateway to the Abbey Creative Quarter and the conversion of an existing car park to the west of the building to a new public square. With these two key moves, a building that previously turned its back on the city has been transformed into one of the main new buildings within the overall Abbey Creative Quarter Masterplan.