Peach House, Aras an Uachtarain

Following on from the success of the restoration of some of the glasshouses within the Botanic Gardens in Glasnevin, the OPW embarked upon the restoration and partial reinstatement of The Peach House range in Aras an Uachtarain.

The Peach House was designed and built by the famous ironsmith Richard Turner.  Until the restoration was complete it was far less known than his works at the Botanic Gardens in Glasnevin, Belfast and Kew.  The structure is a curved lean-to glasshouse made from cast and wrought iron.  It is clear that details which he later used on his grand projects were developed for use on the Peach House.

O’Connor Sutton Cronin began investigations in 2005 on the site.  The building had fallen into complete disrepair and routine maintenance had ceased leading to the inevitable decay with the iron elements.  Samples from various elements were taken and it was confirmed to be wrought and cast iron.  Tests were also carried out to confirm the tensile capacity of the wrought iron which indicated that the iron was considerably stronger than the guidance given in various documents on the use and restoration of wrought iron.  As such O’Connor Sutton Cronin could make use of the additional strength when the building was being modelled to assess its ability to perform under modern design wind loads.

O’Connor Sutton Cronin surveyed and catalogued the cast and wrought iron frame.  Based on the survey, finite element analysis was carried out to assess the structural capacity of the iron frame and the glazing acting as a full diaphragm over the irregular curved elevation.  Following on from this O’Connor Sutton Cronin made recommendations on the required strengthening details.

Detailed member schedules were drawn up indicating every element within the building and information on the length, position and exact cross sectional dimensions were provided.  It was decided that some elements should be replaced due to the amount of decay they had suffered.  The openable windows were replaced with stainless steel to minimise further corrosion risks from moving parts.

O’Connor Sutton Cronin carried out a quality assurance programme throughout the project and supervised all iron work repair and subsequent paint protection system applications

Construction began in September 2007 and the restored building was officially re-opened in January 2009.  The building has subsequently won an Opus Restoration Award in 2009.