The building is a giant periscope, a lighthouse, a navigation device. The design riffs off the history and the maritime nature of the Docklands both in its dynamic form and nature of its materials: corrugated metal, shimmering webbed glass, industrial steel and polished concrete. Modular residential units on the lower platform take their cue from cargo containers and are stacked as if by forklift over an inviting porous framework. Vibrant shops line the ground floor. A two level nightclub/ restaurant is accessed via a large “camera lens” aperture from the north. Flowing glass accentuates the rigorous nature of the orthogonal framework and creates a variety of rich spatial experiences and diaphanous reflections of water, people and light.
Imagine sailing the River Liffey past a camera-lens aperture framing swimmers in a building’s lobby. The vertical swimmers are illusive: this is the nightclub and restaurant (the bar is revealed as clouds pass overhead). A sloped glazed partition will be either transparent or mirror-like depending on the lighting conditions of the day. The pool is revealed underfoot the glass sidewalk. Voyeurists.
The U2 recording studio acts as a beacon both to the Docklands and the building itself. A polyhedron (hats off to Bucky) vessel floats acoustically-isolated in a glass-bottomed sea 60m in the air: a liquid-filled dish. The light of the Irish sky filters through this fluidic membrane and pierces the floors below with shimmering light effects. From this uppermost space one can see all the way through to the basement swimming pool. Now and then, denizens of the nightclub may discern up high the band members’ soles trodding the translucent studio bridge.
This free floating recording studio “orb” is counterbalanced by magnets aligning its ten storey metal gnomon north to cast sundial-like shadows over the waters below. Dampers and viscous fluid ensure stability while musical ideas flow”¦
Sequence: SKY/ WATER/ AIR/ WATER/ GROUND
The studio enjoys 360-degree views and a private outdoor garden to the south. Atop the residential platform there is a shady open area imbued with greenhouses and chi-chi cafes. All residents have private balconies and office levels share open decks. A tiered concrete riser covers the parking entrance. This amphitheatre is shielded from the winds via flowing glass tracery. Theater acts, street buskers, magicians and skateboarders may at various times haunt/ energize this space.