'A centre for music and performance to match any in the world': Government Announces Major Redevelopment of the National Concert Hall

Maura McGrath (Chair), Minister Paschal Donohoe, Minister Catherine Martin, Taoiseach Mícheal Martin, Robert Read (CEO), Ciaran O’Connor (State Architect, OPW), and Katherine Licken (Dept. Secretary General) at the NCH announcement (Photo: Mark Stedman)

'A centre for music and performance to match any in the world': Government Announces Major Redevelopment of the National Concert Hall

Main auditorium to be increased by 40%; new rehearsal hall for National Symphony Orchestra, 500-seat recital hall, learning and participation facility, musicians' rehearsal rooms and music resource organisation spaces to be added.
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The Government has today (8 December) announced a major redevelopment of the National Concert Hall (NCH) in Dublin. The project will see the restoration and redevelopment of the building at the Earlsfort Terrace site, which dates back to 1865. Over 16,000m2 of the NCH complex will be restorated or redeveloped. 

Among the major changes will be:

• The expansion of the main auditorium, increasing the overall space by 40%. This will be achieved by the installation of additional balconies. The expansion will add between 150 and 225 additional seats, depending on the configuration. 

Auditorium-view-from-Balcony

• A renovation of the main entrance foyer, creating a multi-functional space with new access to the marbled stairs, universal access, and enhanced reception and booking offices.Entrance-Foyer-Box-Office

• A remodelling the old medical library as a new rehearsal hall for the National Symphony Orchestra. Currently the NSO rehearses in the main auditorium, which limits the opportunities for daytime performances. The National Symphony Orchestra and Choirs were transferred to the NCH in January of this year.

Rehearsal-Hall-Section

• A refurbishment of the 1865 block including the John Field room, providing new dressing rooms, offices, canteen, library, studios and other services. This includes the refurbishment of the currently vacant 1865 south range to include musicians’ facilities, performance, rehearsal and practice spaces, and storage and side-stage areas.

 Entrance-Foyer-Atrium

• A repurposing of the derelict pathology building as a new learning and participation facility, as well as the development of a new 500-seat recital hall. These will allow new services and programmes to engage new audiences. L-P-in-Pathology-section

• A refurbishment and remodelling of the North East and South East Butler wings to include new musical recital facilities, new public areas and spaces to bring more music resource organisations into the National Concert Hall

Catered-Public-Spaces-section

Funding
The project will be funded by Department for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media and delivered by a partnership between the National Concert Hall and the Office of Public Works. The CEO of the NCH is Robert Read, who was appointed in January 2021.

Commenting on the announcement, Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin, who brought the proposal to Government, said:

This project is a one-in a generation opportunity for our National Cultural Institutions, for all those who love the National Concert Hall, and to recognise the central role that music plays in all our lives. Not only will the project restore this unique heritage building, iconic in its own right, but it will also establish the National Concert Hall as a centre for music and performance to match any in the world.

Maura McGrath, Chairperson of the National Concert Hall, added:

This investment will not only enhance the musical landscape in Ireland but inspire a new generation of music lovers. It will see the National Concert Hall become a cultural landmark for the nation, and realise our ambition to be regarded worldwide as a one of the great centres for music and a symbol of national pride for Irish people everywhere.

The OPW, as architects to the project, are undertaking the design of the redevelopment. A planning application will be made in 2023. 

The history of Earlsfort Terrace, where the National Concert Hall is based, dates back to 1865 when it was originally known as the Exhibition Palace and hosted the International Exhibition of Arts and Manufactures. The Exhibition Palace was later dismantled and replaced by the current structure in 1914, which housed University College Dublin. The National Concert Hall was established at Earlsfort Terrace in 1981. UCD’s medical and engineering schools left Earlsfort Terrace in 2007, creating the opportunity for the redevelopment of the large areas of the site.

For further details, visit www.nch.ie.

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Published on 8 December 2022

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