Knock Basilica was built in 1976, with little enhancement work conducted since then. The Basilica attracts around 1.6 million pilgrims each year and can accommodate up to 10,000 people at one time. This project involved the complete interior refurbishment of the National Shrine and included new services, with the addition of lifts and a full internal fit-out. Completed in 2016, Knock Basilica won the Interior Architectural Project of the Year 2016 at the Irish Design and Build Awards and since then has been be recognised as an International Marian and Eucharistic Shrine, a title given by Pope Francis.
IN2 carried out extensive environmental analysis, as continuous cold discomfort issues were experienced within the Chapel areas. Previous attempts to resolve this issue involved the retrofitting of de-stratification air handling units to the central Sanctuary area. Whilst temperatures improved, they were too noisy to operate during services. To resolve this problem, IN2 carried out extensive simulation analysis using Dynamic Simulation Modelling and Computational Fluid Dynamics. This analysis gave IN2 a detailed assessment of comfort conditions for the existing and proposed installations.
IN2’s solution proposed Radiant Panels at ceiling level throughout the Chapel areas, leading to a saving more than €250,000. In addition, this installation would also enable pleasant temperatures during wintertime for congregation members. Life cycle costs for this solution were compared with the existing installations. IN2 also designed a new lighting scheme, with extensive simulations carried out. To reduce energy and maintenance costs, a low energy lighting system was used, consisting of LED downlights, and LED pelmet lighting within the chapel areas.
This project has been successfully completed, overcoming challenges associated with providing expected comfort levels for building users in such a large space.
IN2’s design solution provides not only long-term cost savings, but an enhanced environment, in terms of heating, ventilation and lighting design, for the 1.6m pilgrims visiting the Basilica each year.