Achievement in Sustainability

We are privileged to announce that Quirke’s Pharmacy has been shortlisted for the Sustainability Achievement at the 2014 Fit-Out Awards. The ceremony is November 4th. It will be an exciting evening! Full information on this project available here!

Shortlisted projects for this award are;

  • C & D Foods – Headquarters
  • ESB Innovation Project
  • Fumbally Exchange Fit-out
  • Quirke’s Pharmacy, Clonmel
  • Solas Bhride Ecological Centre

The full shortlist is available here; 


This is the text of our submission;

The Passivhaus Architecture Company is a Cork-based architecture practice lead by Paul McNally architect. The practice specialises in Zero-Energy buildings for places of business, commerce and work.The PassivHaus Pharmacy was designed by The Passivhaus Architecture Company, including energy modeling to PassivHaus standard. The practice designed the shell of the premises and the fit out. The following team members inputted into the design process;
– The Passivhaus Architecture Company- Domus Projects Ltd.
– Overy and Associates
– Tanner Structural Design- Duffy Quigley
– O’Gorman Construction – J L Noonan Furniture
– PJ Bowes Ltd
– Tradewood & Co
The project brief was to rebuild the family business premises completely, demolishing the 250 year-old building in which the family Chemist business had traded since 1927 on Clonmel’s main street. The existing shop was cold, dark and encumbered spatially by the ageing property. The client wanted the new premises to be comfortable to work in, a bright shop floor for customers, working areas to be well-provided for and the whole building to perform to the highest energy performance standard.
Design commenced in 2011. This included Planning Permission, Fire Certificate and Disability Access Certificate applications followed by tendering the design. Demolition commenced in August 2013 and the Pharmacy was handed over for re-commencement of trading one month early, in August 2014. The entire project contract value was less than €1 million.
The client decision to commit to the town centre location, building on a difficult urban site, with limited access and close neighbours, meant paying a premium to not choose an easier edge-of-town site. This alone avoids huge carbon emissions created by car dependent development.Energy conservation is at the heart of this project. As this is Ireland’s first PassivHaus Pharmacy, the designers recognise the value in sharing design and performance data to enable others to design better buildings. We are monitoring the performance and are able to demonstrate from the first two months of occupation an incredibly stable working environment.


  • –  high level of insulation U-value walls/floor/roof 0.12/0.14/0.1 W/(m2K)
  • –  Triple glazed PassivHaus Certified shop front curtain walling U-value 1.0 W/(m2K)
  • –  Triple glazed automatic entry doors U-value 1.0 W/(m2K)
  • –  high levels of airtightness N50=0.6 ac/hour
  • –  heat recovery ventilation with natural ventilation supplement
  • –  low energy lighting
  • –  high levels of glazing / natural light
  • –  FSC certified timber finishes
  • –  Low-Carbon Eco-cement
  • –  Wood fibre natural insulation in the roof


Building on a tight site, against a dilapidated Protected Structure, in an area of Archaeological interest. (The designer discovered Clonmel’s lost Quaker Meeting house on the site, and had to work around it).

– Creating a PassivHaus on a site that was solar-occluded by surrounding buildings.
– Sourcing suppliers of certified building components for commercial applications – e.g. Curtain walling- Building on a busy main street, with no rear access, on a narrow site.
– Meeting client deadlines to ensure P.S.I. registration requirements
– Technical challenges of meeting airtightness requirements for PassivHaus

CLIENT TESTIMONIAL –A.J. Quirke Pharmacist Ltd;
No. 53 is such a pleasure to work in. It ticks all the boxes, as they say. Even on a very busy day, we all remark on how the day has flown by. Our tiredness levels after a busy day are reduced, perhaps due to the airiness of the new pharmacy or the lack of fluorescent lights, or probably both.The sense of newness is still here in that it feels a little indulgent to be working in a passiv haus structure and I don’t think that will wane over time; especially with the winter approaching.
The most common reaction from the public is one of wonder as they look up immediately as their sight is drawn to the high ceiling, the wood, the brightness, and the really good idea to extend the glass over the “cat & kitten” door. So now the customers all remark on the view of Old St. Mary’s Church. I didn’t realise how much the architecture of the town, really does matter to the Clonmellians.They all remark how the pharmacy has a ‘city-feel’ to it. However, as I keep saying, it is the use of all the wood that gives the pharmacy that natural feel… rather than too much glass or steel. It doesn’t feel clinical like many pharmacies do.
If I compared it to say, working in a hospital with white walls and floors etc. Well, this is different – it has become a very contemporary but a very pleasant environment to work in.We are thrilled with it. The feeling of lightness, natural brightness, airiness is probably due to a number of factors but maybe mostly to the high curving ceiling at the entrance.
Features of the old premises were retained to convey a sense of continuity with the family business. Plaques, name plates, vials and paraphernalia of the old chemist shop are displayed and integrated sensitively into the contemporary design.