NUI Galway – Centre for Theatre & Performance


Client: NUI Galway
Value: €4m

IN2 were responsible for the complete design of the mechanical and electrical services design for the new centre for Theatre and Performance building including ventilation systems, access control system and life safety systems. The theatre venue with rehearsal spaces, changing rooms, administration areas, public foyer was constructed within the structure of an existing building located on the campus of NUI Galway. The Theatre was designed to be fully accessible to all users and it consists of simple forms which are intuitive to building users. IN2 were involved in all access and operational aspects of the design ensuring that installed systems were uncomplicated and allowed large volumes of building users to use the different spaces with minimal user input requirements.

Live Campus Experience & Constrained Site
The Metal Industries building at NUI Galway is historic dating back to the 1850s and is listed as a protected structure. The redevelopment of this historic structure involved various restrictions and emphasis was placed on combining current features into the new designs.

Experience Delivering Similar Building Types
IN2 have experience working on Third Level Education Campus, as well as delivering similar Building Types. IN2 has successfully delivered building services for similar building types includes the Lyric Theatre in Belfast, Skainos in Belfast, Niland Model Arts Gallery in Sligo.

Delivering NZEB / Low Energy Projects
IN2 has experience delivering NZEB / Low energy Projects. The proposed EU Energy Performance of Building Directive slated that buildings constructed in 2015 should demonstrate a 40% reduction below the notional benchmark. Despite being a renovation of an old existing building – the new NUI Galway Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance is achieving the 40% reduction below the Notional benchmark. IN2 was responsible for creating the following low energy building systems, which has contributed to this low energy building:
• LED Lighting
• Displacement Ventilation
• Variable speeds fans and pumps
• Natural Ventilation
• Cascading Condensing Boilers
• Lighting Control at NUI Galway

High Architectural Quality & Technically Compliant
The project originated from the University’s growing ambition to provide teaching and facilities for music and drama departments within the university. A new centre was built within the former Irish Metal Industries building at NUI Galway, a protected structure which dates back to the 1850s and is situated in the heart of the Galway university campus.
The main facility, being the 125 seat auditorium sits as a “building inside a building” and takes for the form of a two storey high drum. The foyer space wraps around this. Workshop and toilets were designed to be used by both the new school and the existing adjacent Bank of Ireland Theatre. There is a small bar in the new foyer. Externally, the entire (local) stone structure was upgraded and refurbished where necessary. A small area of terracing was formed outside to allow the bar to expand, particularly in the summer. Being a building of historical importance, planning permission was required to allow for the creation of new openings in existing walls, alterations of the existing roof, external paving, landscaping, external lighting, and signage.

Ensuring Robust & Cost Effective Project
Energy efficient design was a key factor in this refurbishment. IN2’s building services design enabled the highest standards of life cycle maintenance, access, energy efficiency and environmental sustainability. Employed innovative design schemes that enabled multiple uses of space and maximise full potential of the site.
Cost Effective Systems that were robust and energy efficient included:

Displacement Ventilation
IN2 settled on a low velocity, low energy solution providing fresh air to the occupied parts of the Black Box Theatre at the heart of the new Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance in NUI Galway.
IN2 Engineering utilised Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) as used in the aeronautical and motor industry, to determine the flow rates and locations of the supply air grilles, ensuring occupant comfort would be achieved in the space.

Natural Ventilation
IN2’s natural ventilation strategy involved employing natural ventilation to the building in a successful means of ensuring a low energy system is being used. Paramount to the successful natural ventilation strategy design is the confirmation of compliance with the CIBSE overheating criterion. IN2 Engineering used dynamic simulation to accurately simulate the building, location, weather, fabric, internal operating conditions (lights / people / equipment) and aperture openings to prove the natural ventilation strategy.

Accessible and Inclusive
The Centre for Theatre and Performance at NUI Galway was fully designed to be fully accessible to all users and it consists of simple forms which are intuitive to building users. IN2 were involved in all access and operational aspects of the design ensuring that installed systems were uncomplicated and allowed large volumes of building users to use the different spaces with minimal user input requirements.

Collaborative Design Development with Diverse Client / User Group
NUI Galway had many stakeholders that were consulted throughout the course of this project. During the briefing and concept stage of the project, IN2 researched and organised visits to other relevant sites to benchmark the concept design, ensuring that the design team, Building’s Office and various departments were fully versed in the latest advances in technology such as Audio Visual learning using hand-held devices, etc.

BIM Capability
IN2 have the resource and capability to work with BIM, however BIM was not in use during this project. IN2 utilised other technologies that aimed to improve the efficiency of delivering a project and by ensuring collaborative working. IN2 develops a concise methodology ensuring the production of high quality drawings for all our projects. The following actions ensured high quality drawings on this NUI Galway Project:
• Prepared services design layouts of all mechanical, electrical, life safety, building management showing room and zone layouts.
• Prepared the Fire Certificate submission in conjunction with Fire Safety Consultant (where relevant), including preparation of layout drawings and outline specification for emergency lighting, fire alarms, etc.
• Carried out a detailed review of the Building Services drawings and specifications as above with the Design Team and Client, and formally confirmed that they had been prepared in accordance with the agreed brief and that they were consistent with drawings prepared by the other members of the Design Team.
• Revised as necessary the Building Services documentation following the above detailed review with the Design Team and the Client, and submitted revisions for Client approval

Specialist Expertise

Airflow Simulation
Dynamic Thermal Modelling


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