The Hanging Gardens Project Limerick

(in Collaboration with Denis Byrne Architects)

Status: On Site

The Hanging Gardens project on Henry Street, abruptly halted in 2008, has been a very visible manifestation of the economic recession on one of Limerick’s main streets. We recognise the ambitions of Limerick City and County Council for this site as one of 7 projects that will potentially energise and revitalise the city centre. We perceive the city as a continuously evolving collage, where fragments of older structures endure or are subsumed into new orders, as the city and its needs change, wax and wane. Evolution of cities is never linear and as in science and technology change does not take place in a consistent and linear momentum. This site is in limbo between one phase and the next; this offers a valuable opportunity to reassess, clarify and reveal the potential of this development in the broadest context.

The new enlarged Hanging Gardens site may be considered as having 3 distinct elements: the red brick structures of historic interest placed as freestanding objects along the street, the 5 storey frame structure in the space (previously occupied by the GPO courtyard, and before that, the Hanging Gardens) and the corner block to Henry Street. The first design exercise was to look at these 3 elements and how they interact to form a cohesive whole, particularly at the level of the street, and secondly to examine how each the design of each discrete element may be developed in a clear, rigorous and authentic idiom that fulfils the functional, economic and sustainable goals of the project while respecting the legacy of the site and remaining historic structures.