The Convention Centre Dublin (CCD) at Spencer Dock includes a 2,000-seat conference and lyric theatre with full fly tower and orchestra pit. There is also a multi-purpose sub divisible room which is a flexible space with 1,650m² of flat floored space and 5,500 m2 of exhibition space. There are 22 purpose-built meeting rooms and a range of banqueting facilities.
The building is a vertically stacked layout surrounding the main auditorium with the exhibition and banqueting spaces on lower levels. The project was challenging due to a relatively short design and build construction period of 40 months. Conference usage was the design priority of the auditorium although it is suitable for a range of events from conferences to orchestra performances and opera.
Sandy Brown have been involved in the CCD since 1999 and the design evolved over many years. The main auditorium is designed primarily for amplified sound performance rather than for natural acoustics normally required for orchestral concerts although there is a fully flexible orchestra pit. The auditorium acoustic design was modelled using ODEON software to demonstrate that the brief requirements in terms of reverberation would be achieved with the confirmed internal finishes.
We also advised on mechanical services design matters and the majority of air handling plant was located externally either at auditorium level adjacent to the fly tower, or directly above the auditorium. Strict control of noise was required to prevent noise break-in to the auditorium and to limit environmental noise to neighbours.
The multi-purpose room known as The Liffey room is enhanced by an innovative Skyfold system that lowers a sound insulating wall from the ceiling at the touch of a button, dividing the room into two halls – Liffey A and Liffey B. The Liffey is used for plenary sessions at association and corporate conferences, product launches, award ceremonies, exhibitions and banquets.
While the primary use of the main auditorium is for conferences, it is also used to host musicals, pantomime, pop concerts, dance and comedy. The main auditorium has a forestage elevator with 135 removable seats to give a stage extension, extra audience area or provision of an orchestral pit. High sound insulating walls and floors were designed to accommodate considerable simultaneous use of the main auditorium, multi-purpose hall and exhibition spaces. Unlike a venue that is primarily used for theatre, the seating arrangement for this auditorium needed to be primarily arranged to accommodate conference delegates. Wider row centres that allow delegates to pass to and from their seats and use writing tablets was a design consideration as well as ensuring optimum sight lines and viewing distances.