Millmount Handball Alley
McKevitt King Architects were approached by councillor Pio Smith to look at the restoration and reinvigoration of the existing handball alley in Millmount. Possibly the most visually prominent site in the town, the alley is familiar to all those from Drogheda. Turlough McKevitt & Jim McArdle were the architects on the Millmount tower restoration which was the town’s millennium project, along with many other realised and unrealised projects in and around the Millmount complex over the years, so there is a strong affinity between our practice and the place.
Apart from the prominence and rich historical context of the site, it lends itself to many joint uses. The proposal restores the handball alley, which also doubles up as an open-air performance space. A viewing platform wraps around the alley and acts as a gallery whilst also providing views out across the urban landscape of Drogheda and beyond. The platform projects out over Barrack Street in vibrant green steel, giving the site a new prominence and making an architectural statement that distinguishes the new from the old. Within the alley itself, the stage is temporary and removable, and the bleachers (seats) are retractable.
Care was taken to generate a proposal that works around the existing historic structure of the handball alley. The ramped access to the viewing platform steps over the nineteenth century stone walls, while the viewing platform itself sits in between the old structure, leaving room for the handball alley to retain is location at the heart of the project.
Inspiration for the design was drawn from many projects far and near; Castle Tower Restoration by Meritixell Inaraja, Carlingford Castle by Howley Hayes Cooney, The High Line New York, and Liffey Boardwalk by McGarry Ní Éanaigh Architects.
We look forward to seeing this project progress as the interest and support from within the town is in abundance.