Heron Brothers, Magherafelt
Park Hood, Belfast
For the flagship Sport Ireland National Indoor Arena, part of the National Sports Campus in the Blanchardstown area of Dublin, AG has created a crisp, clean exterior entrance groundcover to complement the contemporary façade of the building.
The project showcases the use of Plaza, AG’s premium granite, water-etched paving flags at the main entrance of the new sports facility.
In such a prime location where first impressions are made, the paving solution had to blend aesthetics with durability requirements, and using the Plaza flagstones in the Salt and Pepper colour range, provides both the visual and practical effect needed.
This particular area had to be landscaped to withstand heavy vehicular loading as well as pedestrian traffic. The paved area encompasses both a flexible laying base system – for the pedestrian areas – and a rigid base solution, for the areas taking the heaviest vehicular loads. Contrary to common perceptions, concrete pavers such as these can be used in a bound or rigid bed system to pass the toughest tests of structural integrity and strength.
Landscape architect Mark Johnston, of Park Hood Belfast said that laying a large product – namely the 400x400mm Plaza paving flag that was specified for this scheme, offered savings in both cost and time.
“Using fewer pieces saved time and achieved greater cost efficiencies. Using Plaza provided a degree of value engineering but allowed us maintain the high quality required of a national stadium of this kind. That was key because we wanted to maintain the design concept given it was in the spotlight, being at the very entrance of the centre. Using two colours to create a grid pattern with the darker shade for an outer border, infilled with a lighter colour, executed a striking contrast and created visual appeal. It worked very well and created an attractive finish.”
Damien O’Neill of Castle Paving Ireland Limited installed the Plaza product at the sports arena. Laying it regularly, he continues to be impressed with its performance. He said AG’s provision of Steintec bedding material afforded very easy removal from the flags in a way not achieved with lesser quality pavers.
“The Steintec bedding material, which is used as a mortar for the pavers, was easily washed off. Many other products would have been left stained, but the Plaza, despite being textured, was left with no such staining. It was very successful and looked very well in the finish,” he added.
The project reflects AG’s personalised customer focus, supported by its capacity to manufacture a completely bespoke product, a tactile granite flag with a vibrant exposed face and rich modern look, specifically tailored for the project.
Plaza – a long-lasting solution made from locally-sourced products – is available in a wide range of depths, sizes and colours, meaning that it’s the perfect tool for creating innovative hard landscaping designs in large urban schemes such as the Blanchardstown arena.
The Plaza range also offers zero maintenance for its lifetime and is protected from the risks of freeze and thaw attack. Crafted by AG in one of Europe’s most modern manufacturing facilities, Plaza is precision made for trouble-free laying which installers attest can be completed swiftly and with little waste or difficulty.
This fully accessible, multi-sport and multi-purpose arena, is the newest of its kind in Europe. Built to the highest world class standards and specifications, it will ensure that Ireland has the best facility for indoor sport and events, which can be used by Irish sporting bodies, high performance athletes and the general public.
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