018324341 info@planonline.ie



Glasgow School of Art has been destroyed beyond repair, say experts, with the costs of rebuilding estimated at more than £100 million.

The historic building, designed by Scottish architect Charle Rennie Mackintosh, suffered extensive damage from the fire that started on Friday, 15 June 2018.

Glasgow-based architect Alan Dunlop, who visited the site over the weekend, said the destruction caused to the building is “irreparable”.

“Mackintosh’s Glasgow School of Art is gone,” he told Dezeen.

“It is certainly possible to rebuild but you cannot replicate 110 years of history,” he said. “The students, artists and architects who have worked there, and whose presence permeated the building – that’s what has been lost in the fire.”

“We should resist the calls to rebuild”

Dunlop, who was a student at the Glasgow School of Art and is a visiting professor at Robert Gordon University, Scott Sutherland School of Architecture, claimed the damage is far worse than the school sustained during the previous fire in 2014, which destroyed large sections of the interior.

A reconstruction project following the first fire, costing an estimated £35 million, was expected to complete this year. But Dunlop believes that the same cannot be repeated.

“It has been destroyed by fire, four years after an initial assault,” he said.

“We should resist the calls to rebuild it as before, ‘stone by stone’. That would not be restoration, it would be replication – a process I believe Mackintosh himself would resist, as he was an innovator, not a copyist.”

Damage “much worse” than after previous fire

More than 120 firefighters were called to Glasgow School of Art just before midnight on Friday to tackle the blaze, which spread from the building’s ground floor all the way up to the roof. Firefighters were able to get the fire under control after several hours.

Aerial photographs released shortly after the fire reveal the extensive damage – the roof appears to have been completely destroyed, and many of the floors are burnt out.

Billy Hare, professor in construction management at Glasgow Caledonian University, estimated the cost of rebuilding at more than £100 million.

“The damage to the school of art appeared to be overwhelming, much worse than the last fire from which recovered materials were painstakingly analysed and used in the refurbishment of the building,” he told The Scotsman.

“This sort of project will cost a great deal more than the estimated £35 million after the last fire in May 2014.”

Hare expressed doubts over whether it would be possible to recover the school at all.

“It is sadly questionable what, if anything, will be left that could be salvaged, restored or recreated after this fire,” he told the paper.

“It remains to be seen if it will be possible to retain a facade from the current building. If not, damaged buildings have been taken down almost stone by stone in the past and rebuilt with a new, internal frame.”

Cause of fire unknown

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service has confirmed that no casualties were reported.

Martin Hill, the fire officer in charge of the incident, said that thermal-imaging cameras were used to help them assess priorities during a “tactical firefighting operation”.

The cause of the fire is unknown at this stage, but investigations are underway.




One of Ireland’s oldest racetracks has been given a major boost and more investment pending.

Waterford and Tramore Racecourse’s new €300,000 entrance building has been opened to the public – a development which was 40% funded by Ireland’s horse racing governing body, Horse Racing Ireland.

The development is part of a €1 million upgrade of the seaside track.

Upon opening the new entrance building Horse Racing Ireland CEO Brian Kavanagh said:

“HRI is very happy to support the investment at Tramore through the Racecourse Capital Development scheme.

“I would like to congratulate the team at Tramore for their continuous efforts to deliver customer-facing improvements and industry essential works, enhancing the raceday experience for everyone.”

All 26 racecourses in Ireland were eligible to apply for funding under the scheme with HRI and it is estimated the entire Racecourse Capital Development Fund will support in the region of 1,300 jobs during the course of its completion.

Improvement works include a new main entrance, with automatic turnstiles to facilitate online bookings, two new offices and a state-of-the-art new meeting area.

Racecourse General Manager Sue Phelan said: “We are absolutely delighted with the finished result.”

Along with an upgrade of the middle stand, replacing the commentary and photo finish areas, and a completely new parade ring, the next phase of the €1m works sees major investment in the stable yard.

Tramore celebrated 100 years of racing in 2012 and the racecourse was the very first race meeting of the millennium in Britain or Ireland.

RTE News



Pepita Sierra, better known on social media as @pepitamola, has become the new brand ambassador for market-leading Sintered Stone brand Neolith®.

The three year old’s life has already won over 200,000 followers through an Instagram account on which her mother, Fabiola, narrates the day-to-day of a little girl with Down’s syndrome. Every day she shares her daughter’s zest for life, and the joy and happiness she brings to her family, friend and many fans.

Pepita truly inspires and her story’s honesty and authenticity made her a natural choice when Neolith were looking for the perfect person to front its 2018 marketing campaign.

@pepitamola’s Instagram, with its insightful and heart-warming snapshots of everyday family life, fired the brand’s imagination, influencing the ultimate decision to bring the surface and the social star together.

Working with Pepita, Neolith wants to showcase how its remarkable slabs combine beauty and performance in different residential settings, where both the ordinary and extraordinary happen daily.

By celebrating these moments Neolith also wants to contribute to the awareness and social integration of people with the extra chromosome, T21.

Furthermore, Neolith will donate a part of its 2018 profits to the Pepitamola Foundation whose main objective is to fight for the acceptance and integration of people with different and extraordinary abilities like Pepita.

In the international territories where this campaign will be launching, part of the annual profit in each respective country will also be donated to Down´s syndrome charities.

Commenting on the significance of the appointment to the brand, Neolith’s Mar Esteve Cortes says: “We want to start including people in the residential spaces we use for advertising campaigns, to make them more welcoming and audience-friendly. And in doing so, we wanted to work with real families, the kind of people who bring life to the everyday spaces in which Neolith is specified.”

She continues: “We want people who inspire kindness as well as admiration, who will move our audiences because of their authenticity and originality. Pepita symbolizes everything we believe in and, what’s more, she’s extraordinarily enchanting!”




Education Minister Richard Bruton will today announce plans for 26 primary and 16 post-primary schools, most of which will be in Dublin and its extended commuter belt.

Half the new primary schools will open in September 2019, predominantly in Dublin, but also in Cork, Dunshaughlin, Co Meath and Leixlip and Maynooth in Co Kildare.

Four of the post-primary schools will open in 2019 – in Dublin, Galway city, Laytown, Co Meath and Co Wicklow.

While today’s announcement is concerned with meeting the demand for more schools, deciding what patron body will run them is a separate process.

Parents of pre-school children in the areas involved will be asked for their preference and their views will be key to deciding who is awarded patronage.

Mr Bruton said an online system was being developed to make it easier and more efficient for parents to register their preferred patron and also their preference as to whether the new school should operate through Irish or English.

It is open to any patron to apply to run a new school and, with denominational schools already dominating the landscape, demand in recent years has been overwhelmingly from multi-denominational bodies.






It was announced today that a new large Grade A office development comprising over 26,000 square metres of net lettable floor area in two distinct office blocks has commenced construction in Dublin’s prime Merrion Square area.

The Project will involve the retention and refurbishment of a number of protected Georgian structures and the construction of the two new seven storey office blocks designed by internationally acclaimed Grafton Architects, and O’Mahony Pike Architects.

The redevelopment of ESB’s site on Fitzwilliam Street Lower, which is effectively an entire city block, was given the green light by An Bord Pleanala in late 2015. PJ Hegarty’s were appointed as the main contractors in 2017 and have now cleared the site with excavations begun on basement construction. It is expected that over 500 jobs will be created during the construction which is due to be completed in spring 2020.

ESB will occupy one block for its new Head Office, “Fitzwilliam 27”, which will be approximately 13,500sq m and will house over 1300 staff. The adjacent block, “Fitzwilliam 28”, of approximately 12,500 sq m of prime Grade A sustainable space is to be offered to the market. Property Advisors, Savills and Bannon, have been appointed to secure a suitable tenant, or tenants, and will quote a rent of €619 psm (€57.50 per sq. ft.) based on a single tenancy.

Savills say opportunities for business development and talent acquisition are enhanced by the central location of Fitzwilliam 28. Dublin 2 enjoys the benefit of greater accessibility due to its pivotal position on the city’s transport grid which offers numerous public transport options via road, tram and rail.

Speaking this week, Chairman of Savills Ireland, Roland O’Connell and Lucy Connolly of Bannon commented, “There is simply no similar office development of this scale and flexibility available in the heart of the Georgian core and traditional CBD, close to all amenities and facilities, and certainly not with the sense of place and historic relevance this scheme exudes. With the understandable development constraints inherent in this area of architectural beauty and heritage it is unlikely we will see another new office scheme of this scale developed in this location again.”

Business World



At the recent BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition 2018, Eoin Sheridan, a 2nd year student from Gallen Community School, Co Offaly, won the BT Special Award for Research and Innovation in the Built Environment, presented by the Irish Architecture Foundation.

He also won second place in the Junior Individual Technology category with the same project, A solar thermal collector efficiency measurement device and analysis. Eoin designed a device which could measure the efficacy of domestic solar panels and an app that would enable users to monitor the performance of their solar panels from their phone.

As Eoin told the IAF: “I wanted to investigate the efficacy of the solar panels on our own home in Offaly. After testing with this device I am pleased to report they are as good as they were when they were installed fourteen years ago. I feel solar panels are not used as much as they should be and I hope my device will give people the confidence to use them more.”

It was notable that quite a number of high achieving projects at the BTYSTE took a look at the built environment through research or the invention of new tools and apparatuses. 1st year Cavan student Aimee Reilly established the positive effects of an awareness campaign on safe and correct use of the roundabouts in her local town, winning third place in the Junior Individual Social & Behavioural Sciences category, while Michael Lough of Scoil Mhuire gan Smal, Roscommon, came third in the Intermediate Individual Social & Behavioural Sciences category for his research into attitudes to public green space in rural Irish towns, focussing on use of parks in Longford Town.

Danielle Greasley and Jenny Seery spent a number of years measuring CO2 levels in the classrooms of their school, Athlone Community College, and established the effects high CO2 levels have on memory and retention among students, winning second place in the Intermediate Group Chemical, Physical & Mathematical Sciences category.

January/February Issue Plan Magazine



The Democratic Unionist Party has backed a crossing between Northern Ireland and Scotland, proposed in response to Boris Johnson’s suggestion to build a bridge between Britain and France.

A bridge across the Irish Sea was proposed by Scottish architect Alan Dunlop as a direct response to the “Boris Bridge” suggested by the UK’s foreign secretary, which would see a 22-mile-long crossing built between Britain and France after Brexit.

But while Johnson’s suggestion was largely met with ridicule by industry figures, Dunlop’s proposal is gaining momentum.

According to a report in The Times leading figures in the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), which has a confidence and supply agreement with the Conservative party, are backing the proposal.

Sammy Wilson, a senior DUP MP told the Belfast News Letter, “People used to think the Channel Tunnel was pie in the sky. This idea of a fixed crossing has been derided as nonsense for years, but it is entirely feasible from a technical point of view.”

A second DUP spokesperson stated that a bridge across the Irish Sea could “act as a catalyst for developing further links between the two islands”.

Dunlop, founder of Alan Dunlop Architects and visiting professor of architecture at Aberdeen’s Robert Gordon University, believes that a bridge between the two countries would cost between £15 – £20 billion and would help to create a “Celtic powerhouse”.

Scotland – Northern Ireland crossing would cost a fraction of Johnson’s bridge

According to Dunlop, the crossing between Scotland and Northern Ireland would cost much less than Johnson’s bridge between Britain and France and would also bring clear economic benefits to the two countries.

“I’m not against a bridge from England to France, it’s not an either/or response,” Dunlop told Dezeen. “A bridge crossing the English Channel, which is one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes, would be economically challenging. This is why I said it would cost less to move France closer, although I have no doubt it would be technically achievable.”

“A bridge between Scotland and Ireland is much more achievable”, he continued, “and it would redress the balance of money being spent by Westminster on London, East Coast transport and other projects.”

While Dunlop estimates that an English Channel bridge would cost £120 billion he believes that a bridge between the two Celtic countries could be built for considerably less.

He suggests a combined road and rail crossing, similar in design to the Øresund Bridge that connects Denmark and Sweden, could be built between Portpatrick, in Dumfries and Galloway, and Larne in Northern Ireland at a cost of £15 to £20 billion.

“The Oresund Straight bridge has brought huge economic and social benefits to Denmark and Sweden, creating a new economic region of almost 4 million people and generated £10 billion economic benefits to both countries,” said Dunlop. “Such a bridge could do the same for Scotland and Ireland, economically, culturally and socially and boost tourism.”

Although at 28 miles this crossing would actually be longer than the proposed bridge across the English Channel – technically, the bridge would present less of an engineering challenge according to Dunlop.

The main engineering challenge for the crossing would be Beaufort’s Dyke, a two-mile-wide, deep-sea trench off the Scottish coast. However, Dunlop believes that a design incorporating the emerging technology of floating bridges could carry the crossing over the dyke.

“It is the right time [to build a bridge across the Irish Sea] because we now have the technical capability to do it,” said Dunlop.




An Bord Pleanála has given its approval to a major urban regeneration project on Francis Street in the heart of Dublin’s Liberties. The scheme, designed by Douglas Wallace Architects, will include a 260-bedroom aparthotel, restaurant units, a gymnasium, shop and a cultural theatre and performance arts venue.

The €25 million project will be promoted by Anthony Byrne, founder of the Tivoli Theatre. It will have an overall floor area of 10,000sq m (107,638sq ft). The design will be centred on a new civic square to be known as “Tivoli Square”, named after the existing theatre, which will be rebuilt as a modern performance and arts facility.

The new Tivoli will act as a catalyst for a number of new cultural activities. It is designed with an integral stage area that will allow for outdoor theatrical and cinematic performances similar to Meeting House Square in Temple Bar.

The aparthotel will be expected to provide a boost to tourism in the area, which is located on the emerging east-west tourist axis stretching from the Guinness Storehouse to Trinity College. The Bord Pleanála decision is expected to mark an important benchmark in the regeneration of Francis Street.

The promoters say the architecture of the scheme has been tailored to respect the unique character of the street, and will include the retention of the 19th-century brick facade at Nos 140-143.

Hugh Wallace, a director of Douglas Wallace, said there was a “simplicity and elegance to the architectural expression” that reflected theVictorian heritage of the area in terms of “rhythm, proportion, use of materials and, most importantly, the civic-minded approach to design”.

Damian Meehan of Douglas Wallace said their approach had centred on the creation of a new urban hub that would anchor the development and also act as a catalyst for change on Frances Street, “a forgotten gem in the historic heart of Dublin”.

Irish Times