The Challenge

Bottleworks is a cutting-edge enterprise and innovation centre on Barrow Street in the Grand Canal Docks area of Dublin 4.

The reinforced concrete frame building houses state-of-the-art shared and individual workspaces over five floors.

Visual concrete forms the core of the Bottleworks building with exposed circular columns throughout and stunning board mark concrete forming the stair core, lift core and basement level walls, delivering a bright and spacious work environment.

The Solution

The circular columns that can be seen throughout the building were cast in fairface cardboard pillar formers. Circular columns were chosen for Bottleworks as they are less obtrusive than other shapes and add to the space and light of workspaces. The choice of fairface cardboard pillar formers, together with excellent workmanship in the placement and compaction of the concrete, resulted in a high quality smooth and uniform concrete finish.

The casting of board mark finished walls required considerable planning. A number of trial panels were cast involving close collaboration between the design team, the main contractor, the concrete sub-contractor and the producer. A number of different timber types were trialed, with consideration given to the type of finish that would be achieved including the mark from the grain from the timber and the level of etch. Additionally, numerous different concrete mixes were trialed with colour and the effect of aggregate proportions on the finish being key considerations.

The Result

Once onsite, careful planning and scheduling of concrete pours for this tight-for-space city centre site proved essential in putting the lessons of the trial work into practice and producing high quality, uniform and consistent board mark finish walls and circular columns.


Offsite trials that assessed different concrete mixes, release agents, formwork and workmanship proved essential in achieving consistency of finish for the board mark walls once onsite.