Croke Park

  • Location: NEIC
  • Architect: Gilroy McMahon / HOK Sport
  • Completed: 2005

The reconstruction of the stadium at Croke Park, home of the Gaelic Athletic Association, was by far the most impressive and ambitious development ever undertaken in relation to the GAA national stadium.

The team selected by the GAA to draw up a master plan comprised of HOK, the Lobb Partnership and Gilroy McMahon, along with Horgan and Lynch Engineers. The overall design for the stadium was completed in 1991. Gaelic Sports have special requirements, taking place as they do on a large field. A specific requirement was to ensure the spectators were not too far from the field of play. This resulted in the three-tier design.

Overall, the new stands represent a new era in spectator comfort and playing facilities within the GAA. A horse-shoe shaped development replaced the old Cusack and Hogan Stands and the Canal End terrace. There are three layers from which viewing games is possible: the main concourse, a premium level incorporating hospitality facilities and finally an upper concourse. The premium level contains excellent facilities such as restaurants, bars and conference areas, all of which contribute to making this new development one of the most impressive stadiums in Europe.

Colour also plays a part and is used to reinforce form. The top of the stand is a cloud grey tracery of roof masts in fragmented form, designed for maximum interaction with the sky. The slate blue transparency of the curtain walling, which encloses the areas containing the restaurants, bars and conference areas, mirrors the roofscape of the surrounding area.

The project was split into four phases over a 13 year period. Gilroy McMahon Architects developed the shell and core design with HOK Sport undertaking the interior fit-out design work in Phase Two and Three.

The first phase of construction was to build a replacement for Croke Park's Cusack Stand. Completed in 1997, this new stand is 180m long, 35m high, has a capacity for 25,000 people and contains 46 hospitality suites. As more of a stand-alone project, in mid-1998 a major high technology Museum incorporating numerous items of GAA memorabilia was opened. This new £3 million interactive museum was built in the reception area of the new stand.

Phase Two of the development commenced in late 1998 and involved extending the New Stand to replace the existing Canal End.

Phase Three saw the building of the new Hogan Stand. This required a greater variety of spectator categories to be accommodated including general spectators, corporate patrons, VIPs, broadcast and media services and operation staff. Extras included a fitted-out mezzanine level for VIPs along with a top-level press media facility.

The final phase of the redevelopment of Croke Park began at the Hill 16 end of the ground in October 2003. The ambition was to provide an ultra modern terrace with the highest standard of facilities for spectators. The terrace was initially opened in September 2004 with a capacity of 9,000. The fully redeveloped Hill was in use for the 2005 championships with a capacity of 13,000, bringing the overall capacity of the stadium to 82,500.

Posted by Reflecting City Team on Wednesday, December 17, 2008
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