Back to Projects

Irvine Town House

As part of the significant investment by the Local Authority to locate a new leisure facility within Irvine town centre, we were engaged by LA Architects to carry out a scheme of extensive repairs and refurbishment to the Town House for North Ayrshire Council.

The Townhouse is a fine example of the Italianate style designed by the Architect J. Ingram in 1859. The building is category ‘B’ listed and is of great community value, serving as the focal point during the annual Marymass Festival that dates back to the Middle Ages.

The building was in extremely poor condition. The sandstone used in its construction has extremely poor weathering qualities and much of the ornate carving was destroyed or deteriorating with the passage of time. Poor detailing and previous inappropriate repair techniques were accelerating the rate of decay to the surrounding masonry to the extent that spalling masonry presented a risk to the general public. Internally, the Town House was in similarly poor condition although much of the original detailing such as the ornate ceiling and plaster work had survived – being concealed behind modern interventions.

The proposals were to create an arts and cultural facility within the Town House which would be attached to the new leisure Portal building (designed by LA Architects). The new Town House accommodation comprised:

  •  A main hall for functions
  •  Exhibition space
  •  Creative rooms
  •  Space for cultural engagement
  •  A new genealogy centre

We worked with a multidisciplinary design team which included Project Manager, Quantity Surveyor, M&E Engineer and Structural Engineer.

Refurbishment works included: Stonework repairs, lime mortar pointing, roofing repairs, leadwork, drainage, reinstatement of missing details, joinery work, internal plaster repair, refurbishment of existing windows and doors, refurbishment of clock mechanism together with the relocation of the Market Cross style War Memorial (1920).

All works were carried out in accordance with the Key Principles of The Scottish Historic Environment Policy with only the minimum degree of appropriate repair employed to safeguard against ongoing decay.

The restored Townhouse has become a major Civic Building in the heart of this historic town. It is the creative and cultural element of the Portal, Irvine’s leisure culture and community centre, with its focus on culture, creativity and heritage through events and exhibitions. The facility promotes family history and genealogy in partnership with Ayrshire Archives. It is in demand as a venue for weddings and civic events with the local community benefiting from having such a resource within the town centre.

The remodelling and refurbishment of the Town House together with the relocation of the War Memorial to its rightful setting has restored this civic space for the benefit of the local community.

Client’s testimonial:

In the works associated with the restoration of Irvine Towhouse, Potters were an amazing asset. Staff have the right balance to both inspire great work to happen whilst also challenging decisions to ensure they are right for the building and its heritage. Always professional in their approach, knowledgeable on their subject matter and a pleasure to have as part of the Townhouse Team to work alongside.

Lesley Forsyth, NAC Cultural Development Manager.