Modern Steel Construction » Steel in the News » Rivets, Rivets Everywhere - photos from the Guinness Storehouse

Rivets, Rivets Everywhere - photos from the Guinness Storehouse

The Guinness Storehouse, built from 1902-1904 at St. James’ Gate in Dublin, Ireland, was the first multi-story steel frame structure in the British Isles. In 2000 after a $50 million renovation the storehouse became the company’s visitor center. The facility gives visitors a good explanation of what goes into making Guinness stout. But for those interested in structures, it also provides a chance to walk in and around the classic and beautiful steel fabrication from a bygone era. Click each photo to enlarge.



Most of the structural steel that previously supported the brewing vats and equipment has been left in place. From the very beginning of the self-guided tour, you’re in among the riveted steel beams and columns.


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Throughout the structure strategically located LED strip lighting accentuates the dense rivet patterns on the built up sections.


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Lattice-work beams are in abundance, as are formed and riveted (rather than cut and welded) stiffening elements mounted within the beams. 



An extensive display on the first floor explains the craft of “coopering,” which is the production of wooden casks. The stack seen here was a common sight on the brewery grounds well into the 20th century. At one time Guinness coppers were making 1,000 casks a week to keep up with output. The company’s coopers were among the most skillful and productive in the world.



Even though they called for riveting, not all of the connections could be made before the steel reached the site. The Guinness Storehouse project marked the first time that many of the fabricator’s riveters had been deployed to the field.



As with contemporary construction, connections were an important part of making the structural system work. The support mechanism is usually clearly evident, such as for this beam seat, as are provisions for fit up and erection.



Much of the brewing equipment and piping was left in place, which gives one a sense of the magnitude of the operation.



As part of the innovative construction, the storehouse used steel floor panels, which are visible here from the floor below. Once the framing was in place, the panels could be quickly put in place and bolted together.



Naturally, steel framing played a major role in the conversion of the storehouse to visitor center. Here the new steel is clearly distinguishable, both in color and construction, from the original steel framework.


For a description of the new visitors center from shortly after the time of its opening, go to


To visit the official Guinness Storehouse website, which offers a further description of all that’s presented in the visitor center, go to


Commentary and photos by Tom Klemens. To read the original article, go to and select Topping Out from the June 2010 issue.

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