Cork City Waterworks Visitor Centre

2004 | Cork City
Lifetime Lab has been developed at the site of the old Cork City Waterworks which was responsible for supplying water to Cork city over three centuries. The site, which had been derelict for over 30 years, contained several buildings constructed from the mid 18th century to the early 20th century. In 2005, Cork City Council secured funding from the European Economic Area's EFTA states for the restoration of the site and its development into an educational and recreational facility. 

The Cork Waterworks are significant as the best preserved group of Victorian municipal water supply structures in Ireland. In 1762, plans were drawn up for city waterworks by Davis Ducart, and in 1768 the council established a pipe water company. A crest commemorating this event is retained inside the Turbine House. In 1858, a new pumping station was completed to the design of Sir John Benson, the city architect. 

The aim of the most recent project was to conserve the buildings, machinery, and site features such as retaining walls, cast iron railings, stone steps and cobbles. The conservation and refurbishment had an emphasis on sustainability, as promotion of sustainability is the basis of the new facility. The Lifetime Lab includes a museum in the steam plant house, a science teaching facility for schools and a sustainable lifestyles themed visitor centre with seminar and meeting facilities. Shea Hartigan was involved from the initial site investigations to detailed design of this project.  Designing these buildings to retain the historic fabric, while achieving energy performance which surpassed contemporary buildings was a significant challenge in this project. In Jack Coughlan Associates, Shea Hartigan collaborated with Niall Mckeon, Jessie Castle, Niall Chisholm on this project and the building design won the Opus Award for Conservation 2005, and RIAI architectural award in 2006.