In any competition, there can only be one winner. But in the contest to build the U2 Tower in Dublin’s Docklands, the three losing consortiums feel very sore about the outcome – and not just because each of them invested at least €1 million in the effort to snatch this glittering prize. The decision earlier this month by the Dublin Docklands Development Authority (DDDA) to award the project to Geranger Ltd, a consortium made up of Ballymore Properties, Paddy McKillen and the U2 rock group, was also seen as unfair by the disappointed underbidders – and there may be litigation over it. What the DDDA plumped for was a tilted triangular tower by Foster + Partners that would soar higher than the O’Connell Street Spire. Quite how much higher is still open to question, but it could ultimately rise to 180m (nearly 600ft), including a battery of vertical wind turbines and a huge solar panel above them. According to the authority, the Norman Foster-designed tower would be 130m above ground at its highest point. At the level of 100m, above the luxury apartments it would contain, there would be a public viewing gallery beneath the egg-shaped U2 studio, which is suspended in empty space from the pinnacle. “The architects have proposed an ‘energy centre’ comprising wind turbines and solar panels that could rise to a point 50m above the top of the tower, bringing the overall height to 180m,” the DDDA says. “But this was not considered in assessing the competition as it is outside the guideline heights”. Foster + Partners maintain that the renewable energy facility would enable the building to generate its own electricity, substantially reducing the scheme’s carbon footprint and making it more sustainable, while the DDDA says it “may consider the energy centre in due course subject to technical and planning criteria”.
The Irish Times