An underutilised brownfield site in Galway is set for a major transformation as BDP’s masterplan for a new urban quarter has been approved by An Bord Pleanála and Galway City Council.
The new town called Augustine Hill will create a series of new developments in the city centre alongside the restoration and rejuvenation of eight existing buildings, which hold protected structure status. This includes the reimagination of a former train shed, which will become a series of restaurants and shops for use by the existing and new communities.
The development represents an exciting expansion of the city centre, building in a creative, accessible urban design defined by contemporary buildings that bring new life and activity to the city. A genuine mixed-use approach encompasses residential, cultural, commercial and transport uses along with a new high quality urban design.
A dynamic public realm with a dedicated landscaping strategy will bring greenery and unique biodiversity, whilst providing an attractive and sustainable environment that complements the city’s history. An open, accessible promenade takes full advantage of the connection between land and sea, together with four squares and 11 streets that lead to an exciting new, walkable 'esplanade in the sky' that promotes urban living.
A composition of tall residential buildings references the staggered mountain range of the twelve bens, which form the backdrop to the city in a region called Connemara. The proposed buildings integrate into the new streetscape, providing city living with access to all local amenities. The green city strategy continues through to the residential development with private roof gardens delivered above the landscaped public spaces, creating a lush, vertical neighbourhood.
BDP Principal, Michael Mullen, explains: “Understanding a place like Galway takes time. It requires a respect of history, an innate appreciation for the local communities and their needs as well as an informed reading of the future: future living, future working and the future of the city itself.
“The Augustine Hill masterplan reactivates the city, connecting the centre, Ceannt Station and Eyre Square past Forthill Cemetery to the water's edge. This is the first opportunity of its kind to create a new Galway and a new community distilled from an understanding of its past, present and future.”
The plans take the national 2030 target for carbon reduction into consideration, delivering a positive orientation, centralised plant, ground source and air source heat pumps, photovoltaic solar panels and sustainable material selection. The masterplan also outlines how the developments will achieve ‘One Living Planet’ accreditation through a sustainable approach to transport, waste, energy, water, food, health and happiness.
In total, Augustine hill will bring 229 new homes to Galway and a 130-bed hotel. Other community amenities will include a cycle hub, a childcare facility and 2,203m² of multi-use, cultural space. The project will move to the construction stage in Spring 2024.