Our clients already owned a thriving Opticians in Newry city centre but were keen to move into custom designed premises. The long narrow site, located in the Conservation area, was typical of the traditional premises that characterise Northern Ireland’s towns. Previous attempts to develop the site had proved unsuccessful due to the requirement for the development to incorporate a right of way for a fire escape from the adjacent premises.
Our solution was to free up the entire front area of the site to create a double height entrance display space within the 2-storey infill on the street frontage. This was achieved by locating all of the testing facilities to the rear of the site in a 2-storey building whose dimensions were constrained by the required fire escape distances. The 2-storey blocks are separated by a single storey ‘link’ block which contains a large roof-light to allow natural daylight deep into the narrow plan.
Photography by Todd Watson
“We initially met White Ink Architects on site and after initial discussions they accepted this project as a challenge in relation to space-planning, function and in the creation of a shop that does not feel like a tunnel! The incorporation of a double-height sales area which allows natural light to flood deep into the narrow building footprint was something that we did not consider possible and adds a distinct internal ambience to the sales area. We, our clientele and our staff are delighted with the finished scheme.”