Victorian Redbrick Substation East Wall
DBFL provided civil and structural engineering services on the restoration and extension of the Edwardian Redbrick Substation on the corner of East Wall Road and Alexandra Road at Dublin Port.
The project involves the stabilisation of the existing two storey protected structure, conversion of the space to double height, with the construction of a new similar height glass box structural steel frame and exposed ‘haute’ concrete extension to the south. The modern glass box extension enhances the useful space within the structure, which shall be used as a multi-purpose venue (mini-museum, intimate recitals, etc.). DBFL were also responsible for designing the below ground viewing area, which exposes the 18th century quay wall that runs underneath the existing substation, and pre-dates the construction of the port itself.
Watch RTE’s video about the original East Wall here:
The existing building is estimated to have been constructed in 1908. Due to the age of the structure, poor ground conditions, and significant vibrations from the nearby East Wall Road, the structure was at risk of collapse in recent years. Therefore, the proposed works included the installation of permanent works to ensure the long-term stability of the structure.
The works include piled underpinning of the existing foundations. The existing floor slab is replaced with a pile supported raft slab. The existing are supported off the new raft slab, with stub steel beams grouted into cored out pockets at 1.5m centres along the length of the existing wall.
Due to the large opening proposed through the existing south wall to facilitate connection of the proposed extension, and due to the deteriorated nature of the masonry, the existing southern had to be carefully removed and rebuilt where required, with as much of the existing materials re-used as possible.
In order to provide better linkage between the new and proposed spaces, removal of the existing first-floor slab was required. This necessitated extensive stabilisation remediation works in the form of bracing columns and ties composed of structural steel. Due to the sensitive nature of the structure, very detailed construction methodologies had to be prepared as early as the planning stage of the project. Although relatively small in size, this is one of the most complex and rewarding aspects of Dublin Port Company’s Port/City integration projects.
A key goal for the project was ensuring that as-much of the existing material was re-used as possible, whether that was re-using the red bricks for the rebuilding of wall elements, or re-using excavated external pavers as part of the new utility/drainage trench reinstatements. SuDS features were also adopted, such as routing the roof drainage from the new extension through existing planted areas within the Port Precinct via a filter drain, which minimised surface water flows to the downstream network