The second life of the Frascati Shopping Centre
Newenham Mulligan Associates
Invesco Real Estate, the client behind the Frascati Shopping Centre redevelopment project, teamed up with architectural firm Newenham Mulligan Associates, structural engineering firm Barrett Mahony Consulting Engineers, structural steelwork contractors Steel & Roofing Systems and contractor Collen Construction – all local companies with the exception of Invesco Real Estate, which is American. From an initial assessment, it is clear that the invested funds have remained within the local community, an important aspect that speaks volumes about the Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council’s vision. Invesco Real Estate purchased the existing shopping centre on Frascati Road from the original owner, the Roche family, for €69 million. The project is part of a broader development plan that aims to establish Blackrock as a new retail hub for the county. The value of the upgrading and expansion work on the former steel and concrete structure amounted to 30.5 million euros. The project almost doubled the shopping centre’s footprint from 9,290 sqm to 15,793 sqm and added twenty-four new retail units and five catering outlets, including bars and restaurants overlooking Dublin Bay. The car park was also expanded and now has 550 parking spaces. While the rest of the world is focusing on e-commerce and the digitalisation of services, Dublin is aiming to provide an enhanced in-person shopping experience, an approach that has led to a significant increase in the volume of traffic in the area and consequently the need to upgrade the road system. Projects like this redefine the functionality and use of local infrastructure and give a new look to the surrounding area. This type of approach is highly reminiscent of the developments that took place in the days of the Five Dragons. The Frascati Shopping Centre is part of the real estate investment trend that has seen steady growth in Ireland, particularly in Dublin, largely driven by tax concessions for big tech firms and a desire to keep ahead of the curve and propose unconventional development solutions.
Light as an essential factor in the shopping centre’s new envelope
When looking at photos of the Frascati Shopping Centre, you can’t help but be struck by the way the spaces are constantly filled with light: it’s almost as if the images are overexposed. But after scrolling through them repeatedly, researching the project in depth and studying photos of the work in progress, one can only conclude that the Shopping Centre expansion project was designed intentionally this way to make the most of the very small number of hours of daylight during much of the year. In this kind of climate, it is important to fully exploit the available daylight, perhaps also for energy-saving purposes given that lighting is one of the biggest operating costs faced by shopping centres. The structural and functional expansion project almost doubled the available floor space (from 100,000 to 170,000 square feet), while at the same time an additional permit was granted for the construction of three external business units and 44 flats housed in the roof space, together with new facilities for families and free wi-fi. The shopping centre extends over several different levels complete with staircases, technical rooms and socialisation spaces including a children’s play area. The entire floor space is clad with tiles from Cerim’s Material Stones collection, a pale coloured porcelain tile that boosts the interior lighting in a region that is predominantly cloudy and rainy for about seven months of the year. Another feature that enhances the natural lighting is the steel structure with a 45° slope. Ceramic tile is most effective when the designers know how to make the most of its technical and material characteristics. The choice of 30×120 cm tiles with various thicknesses and unexpected colours helps to create a sense of continuity between the indoor and outdoor spaces. Combining a strongly contemporary look with rediscovered traditional atmospheres, the Material Stones collection comes in both conventional and modular new sizes for creative, dynamic and modern architectural projects.
More than just online shopping
The Frascati Shopping Centre aims to provide an outstanding in-person shopping experience. Screens and technology are used exclusively to support mainstream marketing campaigns given that hospitality, socialisation, entertainment and the search for cosy places to spend time outside the home have always been an important part of Irish culture, with markets in particular playing a vital role as social meeting places. The fact that the city’s population has grown in recent years has not only driven demand for primary goods but has also led to a need for places where people can meet and spend their free time. The project fulfils this need with more space devoted to restaurants, cafés and transit areas as well as an enlarged car park to cater for a growing influx of customers from other parts of Dublin. Fortunately, there’s far more to the retail experience than online shopping!
Cerim (made in Florim) Material stones
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): 0,08%
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): GA
Resistance to deep abrasion (ISO 10545-6): 140
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): compliant
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): compliant
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): 50 N/mm2
Slip resistance (DIN 51130): R9, R11 GRIP
Thermal shock resistance (ISO 10545-9): compliant