Portlaoise


The landscape concepts provided within the Design Team, by Landscape Architects, Park Hood, were focused upon establishing a new park which caters for passive recreational activity and a central meeting area for gatherings or congregation of people at key events or celebratory occasions throughout the year such as open air events – capable of beneficial use by the entire local community.

The southern area of the park allows for a green soft parkland space segregated with large continuous granite strip blocks and hornbeam hedging to create seating and privacy for recreational use. The Northern portion of the site is predominantly hard paved with Limestone slab pavings to match limestone cladding and pavings used for the new Council offices South of the site. The Plaza is enclosed with raised paved berms to define the main square. Tree planting around the perimeter of the site also provides a strong sense of enclosure. The main activity generator for the Plaza is the water feature and sheltered canopy area – both of which provide a life and vibrancy to the space. Pedestrian desire lines have been considered across and throughout the park to assist movement to and from the new double decked car park and the entrances to the Council offices. Pedestrian footways also respect the desire by people who have parked within the new car park and who wish to cross the various pedestrian crossings across James Fintan Lalor Avenue to the town centre. The car park has been ‘softened’ in appearance with new tree and shrub planting which was carefully selected at Nursery.

High quality limestones and granites in slab and block form have been introduced throughout for the main pedestrian areas with small unit granite paving used along the main access road to the double deck car park. A sealed gravel link is provided between the lift access at the car park and the main entrance to the Council offices. Granite kerb edgings and channels have been introduced to create clean edges between all paving, contributing to a sense of quality finish.

The planting concepts have been maintained as simple broad sweeps of hardy evergreen vegetation, whilst the introduction of large mature Pyrus Chanticleer and Pyramidal Hornbeam will provide leaf cover for approximately 8-9 months of the year.

The landscape during the hours of darkness was carefully considered with a bespoke = lighting scheme installed to wash white light from column positions as well as low level ground mounted halogen and LED fittings. The water feature is also illuminated and provides visual interest and dynamic movement at night-time.

Project Procurement, Delivery and Capital Cost Budget:

The project was tendered as a traditional Construction Procurement Contract which was openly advertised. Park Hood were responsible for the short list selection of the contractors. Park Hood were engaged as part of a multi-disciplinary design team to deliver the Landscape Architectural and Urban Design concepts for the project, which was carried out on programme within a 12 month period and a budget of €3 million. The scheme has recently won a LAMA Awards (2008) and has presently been short listed for an award by the Civic Trust.

Park Hood Staff Resource:

Stuart Hood was the Director responsible for the overall delivery of the project, whilst Mark Johnston acted at Associate level for day to day project delivery.