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Keith Williams adds to Athlone's civic stock

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Keith Williams Architects has begun construction of its Civic Centre, Athlone, in Ireland's County Westmeath.The scheme, the latest in a series of high-profile civic projects, responds to a wider drive by the Irish government to modernise local democracy.

The 4,200m 2landmark development is the practice's first project in Ireland and the initial phase of Athlone council's urban renewal programme for the town centre.

The building will house the town's new library, the council's civic chamber, administrative offices and a 'one-stop shop'where the public can inquire about council services.

It will be constructed with a pale reconstituted stone that will echo Althone's main historic structures, the Castle, Cathedral and Shannon Bridge.

Each of these heritage buildings, though constructed at different times in different architectural styles, shares a solid formality that distinguishes them from the rest of the town's architecture.Keith Williams Architects'design for the new Town Hall takes it cue from that tradition.

The scheme is part of a wider masterplan for Athlone that includes residential and commercial development and the creation of a new public square between the new Town Hall and St Mary's Church on Dublin Gate Street, Althlone's key historic thoroughfare.

Construction is scheduled to take 15 months.

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