Scotch House is located in Central Dublin, on the Liffey Quays. This formerly under-used part of the city was opened up considerably with the construction of the Rosie Hackett Bridge, turning it into an area of renewed prominence. This newly-renovated building is the first construction project to be completed in this part of Dublin for a considerable period of time.
With the renovation of the Scotch House site, the city now has a new Grade A Leed Gold Office Space, located on a landmark section of the riverfront. It’s bright, modern, and filled with light, a perfect addition to the city’s modern business community. The new look of the building also fits perfectly within the context of existing Quays buildings, thanks to the design team’s careful consideration of materials, tone and dimensions.
The site renovation was completed by Dublin-based architectural practice Lafferty. The studio was initially approached for the project in 2013, by owner MF Properties. The brief was simple: to completely refurbish the building, and also extend the property to create additional premium office space. Of course, the project itself proved to be more complicated, but for Lafferty, the use of a BIM process with ARCHICAD at its core both streamlined the design process and made collaboration easier and more intuitive.
Lafferty Architects are Long-Time ARCHICAD Users
Lafferty was founded in 1997. This design-led studio offers both architectural and project management services, and works across a range of sectors, including retail and commercial, residential, healthcare, and leisure. The studio first began to use ARCHICAD in 2003.
For Lafferty this project was something of a milestone, in that it was the first time the studio was approached by a private sector client that was already committed to the use of BIM. In fact, MF Properties already had cloud point data for the site and had prepared an IFC 3D model of the existing building. Planning permission was granted in 2016, and Lafferty took the reins in 2017 to start the design process.
Making Scotch House Bigger and Brighter
The new-look Scotch House includes 40,000 square feet of prime grade A office space, with ancillary retail space. The original building was made of concrete, with brick façades, and included six storeys and a basement level. Lafferty overhauled the building and gave it a stunning new look. Two of the brick façades were removed and replaced with Portland stone, and each façade was further enhanced with floor-to-ceiling glazing of powder-coated aluminium. Inside, the renovations feature plenty of light, natural stone floors, and bespoke timber furnishing in public areas.
The top two floors of the building were converted to penthouse-style accommodation, with full-height windows. The decision to curtail the height of the new façades was an inspired one. The upper penthouse levels look lighter, and the building as a whole doesn’t dominate the landscape the way it might have done had the new façades extended to the building’s full height. At this level the views are nothing short of spectacular, with uninterrupted views of the river and surrounding district. And the penthouse revamp also includes landscaped roof terraces that both improve the views and add an outdoor living element to the list of charms.
The floor-to-ceiling element added a significant challenge to the design. The original concrete build meant that altering interior heights would be difficult. However, the client was adamant in wanting the new spaces to feel open and full of light.
Lafferty’s associated director Ronan Carroll notes that ‘Using ARCHICAD allowed the designers to view the building from all angles, and fully understand its geometry. This allowed them to come up with simple but elegant solutions’.
To add height in the interior spaces, the studio opted to route ventilation and services through recessed profiles on the underside of existing concrete slabs, rather than through the ceiling void. This space-saving measure made it possible to add extra height to the interiors. And it wouldn’t have been possible without the software that allowed the designers to visualise those complex interior spaces.
Better Collaboration and Coordination
The two main façades of the building were slated to be replaced, which meant that replacement structural frames would be needed for those façades, too. Which, in turn, meant that temporary steel frames were needed to maintain the structural integrity of the building, while the permanent frames were replaced.
The services and structural engineers involved in the project used Revit to produce their models – but thanks to the flexibility of BIM and ARCHICAD this wasn’t a problem. The Revit models were transferred to Lafferty’s models via IFC with no loss of data. This meant the Lafferty team could perform early checks for coordination clashes, preventing potentially costly or time-wasting issues later on. Another feature that was used extensively was ARCHICAD’s renovation filters, which helped the Lafferty team quickly determine what the impact of design alterations would be to the finished project.
For this project, Lafferty used an external BIM consultant, who used Solibri to detect clashes between structural, architectural, and service models. Lafferty completed its detailed designs midway through 2017, after which structural, mechanical, and engineering models were overlaid to detect clashes. The various teams coordinated weekly to share IFC models, and met fortnightly for workshops with the consultant.
Ronan Carroll noted that ‘the project was always a work in progress, requiring regular updates to the BIM model, and close collaboration with the main contractor, at every stage’.
This close collaboration continued even after the design phase was complete, as Lafferty continued its involvement throughout the construction phase. The complex nature of the renovation project meant that the Lafferty team couldn’t just hand over the work and move on. This level of collaboration, and BIM itself, was instrumental in the Lafferty team’s ability to deliver great results for such a complex project.