GPO:Witness History Exhibition Centre
General Post Office, O’Connell Street, Dublin
This is a culturally significant project inside one of Dublin’s most iconic buildings which was opened to the public to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising.
The project involved demolition of existing buildings, alterations to the existing structure, restoration of facades and the construction of a new two-storey exhibition centre within the eastern courtyard of the GPO. The main exhibition is situated at basement level of the new extension with an external podium provided overhead to allow public access to the courtyard. A shop, café and ancillary facilities are located within the original building. The eastern courtyard is surrounded on all four sides by a six-storey listed building accommodating more than 900 staff which remained fully operational throughout construction works.
The GPO building is located at the junctions of Henry Street (the major shopping district on the north side of Dublin city), O’Connell Street (a major thoroughfare through Dublin city centre) and Prince’s Street North (a narrow cul de sac providing access to a city centre car-park and service yards for major retailers).
The new building has been constructed using exposed fair-faced concrete throughout. In order to provide the greatest flexibility for the arrangement of exhibits, the number of internal columns within the 400m³ exhibition area at basement level was minimized. Electrical services (including power, security, fire alarm, audio-visual etc) were cast into the concrete structure to provide clean surfaces which are free from conduits and cabling.
Significant civil and structural alterations were carried out at several locations within the original building, including splitting the existing combined drainage into separate foul and storm systems, and providing a new drainage system for public toilets at basement level.. The project at the GPO was completed within budget and on programme in order to open for the centenary of the Easter Rising. The project was valued at approximately €6.8M.