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September 10, 2008

High noon for urban high-rise: it’s 37-storeys or none at all

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An Bord Pleanala is being given a clear choice – either to approve the controversial high-rise, high-density plan put forward for the Jurys-Berkeley Court hotel sites or to reject it in its entirety. Reducing the overall scale or changing any of the building blocks is not seen by developer Sean Dunne as an option. Architect Ulrik Raysse, leading designer of Danish firm Henning Larsen, told a rapt audience on the opening day of an oral hearing on 127 appeals both for and against the scheme that what he had produced was not a master plan, but rather “one design” in which each element related to the other. The 37-storey triple-skin apartment tower, which he described as “the spice in the dish”, was intended to relate to the city scale, providing a landmark for “the new Ballsbridge”. Its tapering, sculptural form would be difficult to change; if, say, 10 floors were to be omitted, the residual building would look like a stump. According to Mr Raysse, its complex geometry and “diamond-cut” glazed facades related to the relatively “calm” brick-clad buildings that would occupy the rest of the seven-acre site. “It’s like a book, with each building as a chapter. So you can’t take out one chapter without losing the story”, he told the hearing.

The Irish Times

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