New Bord Gais centre should add spark to the M50
Anyone who uses Dublin’s M50 will know that it sorely needs more landmarks to overcome an overwhelming sense of disorientation, relieved only by gantry-mounted direction signs to steer motorists through an elongated maze of traffic and construction activity. “The M50 is like a new city wall, with the city inside,” says architect Roisín Heneghan. “This is an edge condition from which many people see the city, yet the land adjacent to the road is generally disused for noise reasons and any development is nearly always sprawl.” The first conscious effort to provide a new landmark on the M50 was Hunt McGarry’s telecom mast for Denis O’Brien’s one-time flagship, Esat Digifone, at the Tallaght interchange. This elegant 30-metre high mast, shaped like an inverted cone, is brilliantly lit at night by double rings of green neon so nobody can miss it. Denis Byrne Architects (DBA) obviously considered the landmark issue when they entered an international competition to design a new national distribution control centre for Bord Gáis Networks, on a rather unprepossessing site on St Margaret’s Road at Dubber Cross, just south of the M50 near Finglas. This will become the nerve centre for Bord Gáis Networks, which is responsible for constructing and extending the gas network in Ireland. The services it provides include pipeline service laying and modification, safety and emergency response, and meter installations and alterations across the State.