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The Luan Gallery, Republic of Ireland by Keith Williams Architects

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Keith Williams Architects has created a new limestone-clad gallery wing at the Luan Gallery in Athlone, Ireland

The architect’s view

The 575m² Luan Gallery occupies a spectacular site overlooking the River Shannon. It comprises the 1897 Father Mathew Hall building - remodelled and stripped back internally to create new gallery space - and a new limestone-clad gallery wing. A glazed river ambulatory and entrance join these two elements.

The new gallery, made from smooth limestone panels, sits above a rough-cut limestone plinth. Zinc-clad roof lanterns centralise the light within the gallery. The Father Mathew Hall has been remodelled, re-rendered and re-roofed in slate. The public river walkway has also been widened and extended at towpath level.

The Luan Gallery, which aims to promote innovative, challenging and engaging work, is the first purpose-built, modern visual art gallery in the Irish Midlands and has been achieved in spite of the most difficult economic conditions.

  • Keith Williams, founding director, Keith Williams Architects

Project data

Start on site March 2011
Completion November 2012
Gross internal floor area 575m²
Form of contract GCCC with quantities (Traditional Contract)
Construction cost £2.3 million (€2.7 million)
Construction cost per m² £4.02 (€4.7)
Architect Keith Williams Architects
Client Athlone Town Council
Structural engineer Arup
M&E/lighting consultant Axis Engineering
Quantity surveyor Mulcahy McDonagh+Partners
Acoustic consultant AWN Consulting
Project manager Keith Williams Architects
CDM coordinator OLM Consultancy
Main contractor Purcell Construction
CAD software used Vectorworks
Annual CO2 emissions 30.4kg/m²

Specified products

External walls and soffits (new gallery)

Mocca crème limestone, 40mm thick, horizontal vein, honed finish


External river path wall

Branco do mar moleanos, 110mm thick, rockfaced finish



Single glazed, 12mm toughened flushed, bonded, glazed doors in aluminium frames


Zinc roof cladding

Barbary Construction. Zinc standing seam, adhered VM zinc butyl aluminium

Raised floor

600 x 600mm oak veneer on 40mm carrier panels


Lime render

Traditional jointless roughcast lime render



215 x 102 x 65 Chester Red Blend bricks



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