Dublin's 8,500 seater Historic Point theatre, refurbished to become a 14,300 seater O2 venue, opens today.
The old train shed was built in the 1880s, and converted into a theatre a century later. The new venue extends two storeys upwards above the original building with its translucent polycarbonate cladding.
Capacity has increased dramatically from 8,500 to 14,300
"All but the existing kelp stone perimeter wall was demolished, allowing us to virtually double capacity as well as greatly enhancing both front and back of house facilities, which include a 50 tonne rigging capacity and a VIP and sponsors’ lounge," said Buro Hapold structural engineer Alice Brook. "The sightlines are excellent, achieved with the aid of complex geometry modelling by HOK Sport to provide a unique, amphitheatre-style, column-free auditorium despite a roof span of over 50 metres. Truck access to the backstage areas is also facilitated by a column-free zone."
The new structure comprises a steel frame, acting compositely with concrete and steel deck floor slabs. The auditorium is flexible, able to alternate between concert and theatre modes, with adaptable seating configurations and a seating bowl geometry.
Buro Happold’s project director Ken Jones said: "Meeting the needs of the client on this site was a real challenge, because the project programme and budgets have been tight throughout, as was the physical space available. Buro Happold can be proud of the contributions we have made towards the successful realisation of this dream. The engineering solutions have been both pragmatic and ingenious where necessary – such as the optimised column grid and core configurations, which both saved cost and maximised the space."