Mid-Eastern Regional Innovation Think Space (MERITS)

Áras Chill Dara, Devoy Park, Naas, County Kildare, Ireland

This new, purpose-built, co-working and incubation space for technology entrepreneurs and businesses is being led by the Local Enterprise Office and Kildare County Council. The space provides the co-working and start-up community with support, networking opportunities as well as practical facilities to nurture young businesses. Facilities include co-working spaces, start-up office spaces, networking, conferencing and meeting facilities.

The building itself has been designed with future expansion in mind, both vertically and horizontally. It is seen as the first phase in the development of a series of innovation spaces clustered around Kildare County Council’s Headquarters. The flat roof structure has a modest straight parapet awaiting the addition of another story in years to come.

The spaces are set out over two stories in a simple rectangular plan, a large recess on the ground floor provides a covered threshold space welcoming you into the building. Entering the building you arrive into a large reception area with a double height space. This is the heart of the building providing a space for people to gather and share ideas. The co-working and office space open off this foyer on both floors. The first-floor conference room is connected to the first floor networking hub. It is a flexible space seating 90 people in a single space or it can be divided into two smaller venues with a sliding acoustic wall.

The building is conceived as a concrete framed structure with non-load bearing partitions defining spaces within. This allows for long term flexibility in the layout over the lifetime of the building. The external envelope is a mixture of timber cladding and grey/black brick. The brick relates to the adjacent masonry warehouse buildings and the Devoy Barracks; while the timber cladding, with its alternating rhythm of solid to void, takes its cue from the neighbouring Áras Chill Dara.

Team: MMP (Quantity Surveyor) / Ethos (M&E) / DBFL(Structure & Civil) / MJP (Fire)

Status: Complete August 2021