Urban Design Review for the Diageo site in Kilkenny City

The Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland, (RIAI), and Kilkenny County & Borough Councils joined in an urban design process for the Diageo/Smithwick’s Brewery site which will become vacant later this year.  Diageo plans to close the Smithwick’s brewery, which operated at the site for over 300 years, later this year to centralise its beer production at new facilities in St James’s Gate, Dublin.

Supported by the Departments of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, under the Government’s Policy on Architecture 2009-2015, the urban design process involved eleven of Ireland’s leading architects, along with planning, engineering and property advisors.  This unique partnership came up with a number of design and development concepts for the site which were unveiled in Kilkenny Castle on Thursday 2nd of May.

The architects looked at the development potential of the site, taking into consideration the city in its totality, including its economy, history and demographics, to ensure that the development of the site delivers the best design solutions. The experts conducted a site visit in December 2012, and came up with different design approaches and philosophies which have been compiled into a comprehensive report.

The RIAI report on the process and the architects’ presentations as given on the 2nd May are available for public consultation and comment at ourplan.kilkenny.ie. This report and the presentations will be considered by local elected representatives in the coming months as part of the preparation of the new Development Plan for Kilkenny City & Environs.

Architects involved in the process and who presented at Kilkenny Castle on the 2nd May included:

  • Seán Harrington, principal of Seán Harrington Architects.
  • Tony Reddy, Chairman of international design firm Reddy Architecture & Urbanism.
  • Martin Colreavy, principal advisor for built heritage and architectural policy at the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, with responsibility for the new Government Policy on Architecture 2009- 2015.
  • James Pike, Director O’Mahony Pike Architects.
  • Shelley McNamara, co-founder of Grafton Architects.