Client: North Down Borough Council
Architect: AECOM
Contractor: FP McCann

Mervyn Storey MLA the Social Development Minister within the Northern Ireland Assembly officially opened the new look Holywood Town Centre, post a £2.4million investment in the public realm, during December 2016. The project was funded in partnership between the Department for Social Development (DSD) and Ards & North Down Borough Council. 

At the design stage Hardscape supported AECOM in selecting Italian Prima Porphyry bespoke blend; a unique quality control & value assurance that retains all the nuances and historical values of the original natural stone but with a very pleasing premium aesthetic. Alpendurada granite kerbs quarried in Portugal were also chosen. With a post contractor appointment, Hardscape were honoured to complement FP McCann with actual material supply, on time, to the correct specification required. 

Beautiful Italian Prima Porphyry has no boundaries – Porphyry without periphery

Italian Prima Porphyry, exclusively via Hardscape, has excellent durability which resists high transverse breaking loads qualifying the material for superior pavement design & trafficked areas. These realties with bespoke selection make it very different and unique to other ‘violet’ porphyry materials in the market. 

Hardscape helps preserve Holywood’s rich heritage

Holywood town centre in Northern Ireland has been given a prestigious new look to reflect its rich history, as part of a £2.4-million-pound public realm regeneration scheme. Hardscape was involved throughout the project – firstly by supporting AECOM during the design stage by advising on the selection of materials, and then supplying FP McCann with specially selected hard landscaping materials. 

The scheme, which was located within the heart of the historic town, features a variety of specialist shops and a handful of traditional pubs, award-winning restaurants, cafes, and wine bars. These attractions are found within tastefully renovated buildings, preserving Holywood’s Victorian character. 

The Brief

Hardscape was tasked with creating a space that reflected the town’s diverse heritage. In the mid-19th century, when the railway was extended along the North Down coastline, Holywood became the residence for Belfast’s industrial elite who built magnificent mansions in the surrounding area. This remarkable Victorian architecture is still around today, including an impressive pink church, and has led to Holywood being recognised as a conservation area. It was therefore essential that the paving reflected this distinctive beauty. Holywood is also home to the only surviving maypole in Ireland; a feature that Hardscape wanted to pay tribute to. 

Materials used

Hardscape used Prima Porphyry for the paving scheme. The stone is most remarkable for its enduring beauty, while also being durable – perfect for the high footfall around the town centre. The use of Porphyry was perfect to reflect the rich heritage of the town – being rich in historical value itself, regarded by both ancient Egyptians and Romans as a royal stone. The majestic purple tones and large grain crystals of the Prima Porphyry paving perfectly complemented the prestigious historical buildings around Holywood. 

We were delighted to be involved in the regeneration of such a communal area in the public realm. The project has helped to preserve the character of Holywood, complement its Victorian architecture and create a sense of pride for its citizens.

Hardscape Ireland’s Glenn Bradley