Main Street: An Intro

  • Location:
  • Architect:
  • Completed:


  • BRL Architects `Civic Plaza, AXIS`
  • Building Design Partnership `Civic Centre`
  • Levitt Bernstein Architects: `Sports Centre`
  • A.P. Lorimer `Southern Gateway`
  • Shay Cleary Architects `Northern Gateway`

The Main Street will form the heart of the new Ballymun. The Masterplan proposed that it should have the feel of an established village street, as in Blackrock, or Terenure, offering a wide range of facilities. Research for the Masterplan demonstrated that on the road through Ballymun junctions occurred at only intervals of 1,000 metres, effectively cutting the community in half.

The extensive road realignment in Ballymun reduces the width of Ballymun Road; rationalises underground services; prepares for the arrival of LUAS; provides for new link roads to the eastern and western neighbourhoods; provides, in conjunction with the new plazas, a setting for work, shopping, leisure and cultural activities, and provides a link both real and symbolic to the City.

The Civic Plaza at the southern end of the reconstructed Main Street is well advanced. At the southern end of this plaza, AXIS, the Ballymun Arts and Community Resource Centre, designed by BRL Architects, opened its doors in 2001 and has established itself as a venue for contemporary arts. The centre includes a 250-seater theatre, dance and recording studios; conference, training and office facilities, as well as a crèche and a cafe-bar.

Next to AXIS, the Civic Centre designed by BDP is completed, comprising a civic chamber; a 'one stop shop' for Dublin City Council; a Motor Tax Office; offices for the Northern Area Health Board (NAHB) together with a health centre; accommodation for Dublin City Council and Ballymun Regeneration Ltd. (BRL); as well as a café, exhibition area, retail units and car parking for 110 cars. The scheme also includes 48 apartments and some retail units.

The Civic Centre's three-storey stone-clad wedge addresses the plaza and the AXIS Theatre. In contrast, the four-storey curved glass element addresses both the main street and the plaza. The curved form also creates a softer internal face to the site, forming a community garden to the rear that contrasts with the harder urban front of the building. Internally, a dynamic curved atrium sits between two wings of accommodation. The atrium is intended to be the social focus for the building's users and provides an exhibition area and meeting space for the community. The civic chamber is a double-height space at first floor level. Located above the entrance, it faces onto the plaza and acts as a visual focus. The ground floor level comprises the public facilities, while offices for Dublin City Council, BRL and the NAHB are located on the upper floors of the building.

The new Sports Centre and Swimming Pool is nearing completion, opposite the Civic Centre. Designed originally by Levitt Bernstein Associates, and tendered as a design-and-build contract, it will house a large leisure pool, indoor sports hall, gym, shops and apartments.

The Southern Gateway site, subject of an RIAI competition in 1999, was won by ARP Lorimer. This scheme is now finished, including the landmark gateway towers. The mix of houses, apartments and duplex units are part local authority / part private and were sold straight off the plans.

The Northern Gateway is a mixed-use development of office commercial and residential accommodation which responds to the significance of the site in a coherent urban arrangement. The gateway is primarily achieved by placing two highly glazed buildings on the corners. On the west side an office building takes the form of a sheer curved façade to the main road and is six-storeys high. On the opposite side of the street a complimentary development takes the form of a two storey glazed building accommodating commercial and office use with a twelve storey residential tower above. The remainder of each site is primarily given over to residential development in the form of apartments. These are arranged around landscaped common gardens. Apartments generally have living rooms facing south or have east west orientation.

Posted by Reflecting City Team on Thursday, September 18, 2008
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