The Return of the Saint

27 June 2006
Saint Patrick represents Ireland. He embodies the Irish people the world over and is synonymous with the country. His potential as a unifying factor linking the whole community together has been realised with the St. Patrick Visitors' Centre at Downpatrick – one of the most historically important sites in Northern Ireland.
St Patricks Visitors' Centre

Pilkington Planar™ structural glazing system was chosen for the striking glass façade entrance of the stunning £6.3million centre set at the foot of Cathedral Hill, where St. Patrick is strongly believed to have started his mission and was ultimately buried.

Renowned architects Consarc created a curved, suspended Pilkington Planar™ façade supported by 19mm structural glass fins. The result is an astonishing 10m high frameless glass entrance to a development that perfectly combines the latest in building technology and design with the history associated with Downpatrick.

“The Pilkington Planar™ system was chosen to ensure maximum transparency of the interior to the people of Downpatrick and visitors,” says Consarc’s Dawson Stelfox. “The building is set partly into the ground, reducing its impact on the sensitive listed buildings behind, including the Cathedral, and so the use of the glass façade was to counteract any tendency for the building to be seen as a bunker. This has been very successful and the building is welcoming, open and flooded with light.”

McNeill-McManus, accredited installers of Pilkington Planar™, utilised its experience to ensure Consarc’s vision was realised. Peter Collins, Contracts Director, comments: “Pilkington Planar™ allows the creation of frameless glass building facades. This project – with its need for suspended curved facades – really put the system to the test and it responded brilliantly.”

In addition to being a major international tourist attraction, the centre also offers educational guided tours on the history of St. Patrick, with a multimedia interactive exhibition. The Downpatrick Tourist Information office is also located in the impressive building.

Pilkington Planar™ is a complete frameless structural glass system. It is never sold as individual components, but only as a fully-engineered system. Pilkington works closely with architects and accredited Pilkington Planar™ installers throughout the build process