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Upper Austrian timber trade delegation visits Dublin  

Austrian Timber
13 May 2010

Dr. Erich Wiesner, CEO of Austrian engineered timber specialist Wiehag, is very satisfied with his company’s results in Ireland: “Even in the downturn, we are doing more business here than ever before”, he said.  "When Ireland begins to build again, the future will be wood”.  

Dr. Wiesner was part of a 30-strong trade delegation organised by the Upper Austrian Timber & Forestry Federation, Proholz. It consisted of four Members of Parliament from Upper Austria, top civil servants, representatives of the forestry and timber-manufacturing sectors and a group of journalists.

First stop for the group was the Elm Park development on the Merrion Road in Dublin 4, a mixed development made up of 432 residential units and 45,000 square metres of commercial office space. Built by McNamara, the Buchholz/McEvoy-design meets the most exacting standards of sustainability, safety and aesthetics laid down by the City’s planners. The west wind is cleverly used to both cool and warm the building, cutting energy costs dramatically.

Wiehag's timber-glass facade at Elm Park

Wiehag's timber-glass facade at Elm Park 

The group then travelled to the Point Village to inspect the rounded timber and glass façade of the commercial centre and 4-star hotel, another McNamara project, designed this time by Scott Talon Walker. Both Elm Park and the Point Village Commercial Centre use timber-glass hybrid facades. The engineered timber is provided by Wiehag and the glass is supplied by Seele, another Austrian company.

At a presentation in the Elm Park corporate reception suite, the Austrian visitors were treated to the breath-taking, 180-degree vista of Dublin bay. There the Director General of the Construction Industry Federation (CIF), Tom Parlon, gave an overview of the Irish construction industry, estimating that in 2011, construction spending will account for €10 billion or 6% of GDP, even after the recent market correction and world financial crisis. “However, if Ireland is to reach equilibrium with its European neighbours, investment in construction will have to double”, he said.

Wiehag GmbH is a 150-year old family-run company that uses spruce, pine and larch from the forests of Upper Austria and specialises in load-bearing and clear span construction. It has also developed a series of highly innovative glued laminate products. Further projects in Ireland to date include Limerick County Hall, The Health Sciences library in U.C.D. and the Leinster House Pavilion.
The Proholz delegation at Elm Park

The Proholz visitors at Elm Park