The Ballymun Boiler House was built in the 1960s to provide drinking water, hot water and heating to the 36 newly built flat blocks, some 450 houses and associated public buildings. It was the largest mass heating system in Ireland at the time of construction, and had an unusual aspect to its service in that it could pump fresh drinking water straight to the flats from a nearby reservoir, completely eliminating the need for localised booster pumps or storage tanks. The Boiler House site is located on the main street of Ballymun.
The site then was a brownfield site comprising the disused boilerhouse, the iconic concrete chimney, adjacent reservoir where water was stored. The decision was taken by Dublin city Council, Ballymun Regeneration and the Discovery Centre, not only to reuse the boilerhouse but to refurbish it and create a national centre of excellence in education for sustainable development.
The project reuses and recycles existing materials where possible, it follows an ecological agenda in choice of new materials, it exemplifies sustainable design in all aspects of its realisation. The completed building is an Exhibition Centre for Sustainability and a home for the Rediscovery Centre – a social enterprise dedicated to providing community employment and training via innovative reuse enterprises which use waste and unwanted materials as a resource and raw material for new product design. The design ensures a minimum carbon footprint in construction and throughout its operational lifetime.