Sinead McGurk Opticians

McGurk Architects, Magherafelt, Co. Derry, 2017


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Queen Street South Approach 

McGurk Architects (website)     Download Original

  • Queen Street South Approach    
  • Queen Street North Approach    
  • Front Elevation    
  • Window Detail    
  • Interior 1    
  • Interior 2    
  • First Floor Dormer Internal    
  • First Floor Double Height Void    
  • Main Entrance    
  • Double Height Space from Ground Floor    
  • Before - Existing Building    
  • Ground Floor    
  • First Floor    
  • Front Elevation    
  • Visual 1    
  • Visual 2    
  • Visual 3    

Regeneration and adaptation of street façade with internal alterations of existing commercial/office building to provide new commercial premises for Sinead McGurk Opticians.

The jewel in the crown of Queen Street’s regeneration in Magherafelt, Sinead McGurk Opticians has brought new life to an enervated derelict terrace.

Retaining the quaint proportions and old world charm of its predecessor, the new frontage is striking to all visitors accessing the town centre via the A31. Ground and first floor elevation treatments are entirely different, but highly complementary to each other. Copper shingle panels top a rustic base of layered stone, which has minimal asymmetrical windows inserted mirroring its precedent’s solid to void cottage proportions. These smaller windows make ideal window displays for the optical ware and jewellery.

The feature first floor level window is a dramatic three meter copper shard. This mono-pitch roof rises upwards and out from the existing roof and wall structure along Queen’s Street, demanding attention from all passers-by.

The building’s interior design is also tailored specifically to the function of the optical business. The test room tucked in the rear corner of the premises allows the open plan display and sales areas at ground and first floor level to dominate the visitor’s attention. The front entrance opens into a double height space beyond the Roman brick clad internal skin of the property’s front wall. Visitors are immediately aware of the glassware products at first floor level, visible in glass and walnut displays at upper levels beyond the copper pendants.

There are many bespoke display items worthy of note. The minimalist horizontal themed slim-line gloss shelves are striking whilst the stand alone glass box in the centre of the double height space has USB and plug points for the modern shopper to browse.

The floor of the premises, rear wall and the reception desk are all clad mainly in walnut. Keeping a minimalist muted background to the display area’s opulence.

The practice, which is run by practice principal Colm’s wife, adds to the town’s heterogeneous character, providing a template for urban renewal and shows that it is possible to work with existing derelict buildings to give them new life; a second chance.


  • Begun: Sep 2015
  • Completed: May 2017
  • Floor area: 150m2
  • Sectors: Retail, Healthcare
  • Total cost: £200,000
  • Funding: Private
  • Tender date: Jun 2015
  • Address: 4-6 Queen Street, Magherafelt, Co. Derry, BT45 6AB , United Kingdom

Professional Team