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October 12, 2007

Docklands skyscraper to soar to 180m

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The sensational new scheme has the rock band’s eggshaped recording studio suspended beneath a battery of vertical wind turbines and a huge solar panel at the top. This “energy centre” will raise the overall height from 130m (427ft) to 180m (591ft). The tilted triangular tower, designed by Foster + Partners, will include a public viewing platform offering panoramic views over the city and Dublin Bay. This will be located just below U2’s “pod” studio, which will be separated from the structure for acoustic reasons. The scheme by Norman Foster’s practice, best known for the Swiss Re or “Gherkin” tower in the City of London, was commissioned by Geranger Ltd, a consortium consisting of Ballymore Properties, developer Paddy McKillen and the members of U2. Geranger was selected as “provisional preferred bidder” for the €200 million project. It was chosen ahead of rival tenders from: Treasury Holdings/Sisk; Mountbrook Homes, controlled by developer Seán Dunne; the Dutch-based Royal BAM Group; and the Riverside II Partnership. The Treasury Holdings/Sisk scheme, designed by Zaha Hadid, came second in the competition, which was assessed by Chris Wilkinson of Wilkinson Eyre Architects; Shih-Fu Peng of Heneghan Peng Architects; and Michael O’Doherty, former principal architect at the Office of Public Works. DDDA director of architecture John McLaughlin said the Foster scheme “had the edge because its public spaces were really well handled” and it provided a gateway to a new bridge over the river Dodder where it joins the Liffey alongside Britain Quay. In addition to the tower, which will largely comprise luxury apartments, the scheme includes a five-star hotel in a flanking building to the south, oversailing a block of 34 social and affordable apartments, which comprise 20 per cent of the overall residential content.

The Irish Times

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