Dooradoyle, Ireland


The Limerick County Council Headquarters belongs to an impressive series of new local government buildings erected throughout the Emerald Isle during the past decade, structures that gather council offices together, for the first time, in signature buildings. It was designed by the American/Irish duo Merritt Bucholz and Karen McEvoy. This husband-and-wife team established their practice in Dublin after winning a competition to design Fingal County Hall [RECORD, August 2001]. Just before the completion of that, their first building, Bucholz McEvoy Architects was awarded the Limerick commission through an interview process.

Limerick’s new county hall gathers together nearly 300 local government officials working in nine departments that were previously scattered across several locations. In addition, the building provides a council chamber for 29 locally elected representatives. Computerization, increasing informality, and a less homogenous society suggested a more open architecture than in the past. Located in Dooradoyle, a suburb of Limerick, the County Headquarters is surrounded by the vast parking lot of a shopping center, across a busy road from tract houses. Like many places in Ireland, the site was rural until 15 years of the Celtic Tiger’s rapid economic growth transformed it. Bucholz McEvoy considered its project in the context of this evolving landscape. The resulting design focuses at the scale of both the suburban context and that of individual workstations. Natural ventilation, lighting, and climate control all aim for new environmental standards in Irish governmental architecture.

The architects set the bulk of the building back from the road, dividing the interstitial ground into parallel strips. Alternatively landscaped or used for parking, these striations tilt up and down, partially concealing the automobiles within this new
terrain. A pierlike entry pavilion juts toward the road from the building’s primary mass; an adjacent volume, clad in terra-cotta tiles, houses the council chamber at the southernmost corner of the site.

Rising from its bipartite base, the bulk of the council headquarters presents itself as a four-story, concrete-framed structure clad in an expansive glass curtain wall. Facing southwest, the upper three floors are screened by an external assemblage of steel and laminated Scots pine that folds, in plan, to protect the interior from summer heat and solar glare. The facade system tilts inward so that the sky is reflected in unexpected ways; it rests, above, on steel prongs whose shape inspired Bucholz to nickname them “hockey sticks.”



Limerick County Council


Bucholz McEvoy Architects
Unit C Mountpleasant Industrial Estate
Upper Mountpleasant Avenue
Rathmines, Dublin 6, Ireland
353-1-496-6340 tel.
353-1-496-6341 fax

Project directors: Karen McEvoy; Merritt Bucholz

Project architect: Graham Petrie

Design team: Sabine Klingner; Jana Scheibel; Jim Luke; Mary Louise Kelly

Interior designer

Bucholz McEvoy Architects


Structural: Michael Punch and Partners

Building services: Buro Happold


Landscape: Bucholz McEvoy Architects

Lighting: Pritchard Themis, London

Acoustical: Buro Happold

Atrium enclosure engineer: RFR

Art installation: Corban Walker

General contractor



John Sisk & Son

Michael Moran

CAD system: Microstation



Structural system 

Atrium structure by Seele Austria

Exterior Cladding

Masonry: Precast concrete spandrels

Metal/glass curtainwall: Duggan Systems; Schüco

Concrete: Treform

Wood: Seele Austria; timber trusses by Wiehag


Built-up roofing: Mastic asphalt

Metal: Kalzip


Steel: Seele Austria

Aluminum: Schüco


Glass: Schüco

Skylights: Seele Austria


Entrances: Seele Austria; Dorma 

Metal doors: Skelly Doors

Wood doors: Gem Manufacturing

Sliding doors: Dorma 

Fire-control doors, security grilles: Gilberts


Locksets: D-Line

Hinges: D-Line

Closers: Dorma 

Exit devices: D-Line

Pulls: D-Line

Interior finishes:

Acoustical ceilings: British Gypsum

Cabinetwork and custom woodwork: Ross Furniture

Paints and stains: Keim Paints

Paneling: Gem Manufacturing

Plastic laminate: Formica

Special surfacing: Stone at atrium by Carlow Stone

Floor and wall tile: Top Cer 

Resilient flooring: Marmoleum

Carpet: Esco Flavia; Munster Carpets

Raised flooring: Hewetson Floors


Office furniture: Unifor

Reception furniture: Custom design by Ross Furniture

Chairs: Herman Miller

Upholstery: Kvadrat Unen

Other furniture: p


Interior ambient lighting: Erco

Downlights: Concord

Task lighting: ERCO

Exterior: ERCO

Controls: Honeywell


Elevators/escalators: Mid Western Lifts