Docklands announces Foster as provisional preferred architect for U2 Tower



The Dublin Docklands Development Authority has announced that Geranger Ltd, a consortium consisting of Ballymore Properties, Patrick McKillen and August Partners (U2 Band members and management) has been selected as the provisional preferred bidder to design, construct and finance the U2 Tower and Britain Quay Building, one of the most significant architectural projects to be delivered in the regeneration of the Docklands area.

The consortium’s architects, Foster + Partners, have proposed a stunning design for the 120 metre high tower and adjacent Britain Quay site uniquely situated at the confluence of three waterways, the River Liffey, River Dodder and Grand Canal. The inspirational building will include a public viewing platform at 100 metres, a public amenity area at the base; and hotel, retail, and residential accommodation including 20% social and affordable housing. At the top of the Tower, the U2 studio is included as a suspended egg shape pod.

Paul Maloney, Chief Executive of the Docklands Authority, said that, while all the submissions received were of an extremely high quality and it was a difficult decision to make, Geranger Ltd had been selected because its submission exceeded the expectations of the brief with the emergence of a breathtaking design uniquely suited to this prominent Docklands site. ‘We are delighted to have achieved our ambition of realising an inspirational landmark design, while at the same time maximising public usage and access. This design will be a very special building for Docklands and Dublin City while integrating the Britain Quay and U2 Tower buildings in a distinct and coherent fashion on the waterfront. It will also provide visitors the opportunity to experience spectacular views across Dublin city and bay, and for the community offers significant social and affordable housing potential.’

The announcement of preferred bidder status for Geranger Ltd follows a rigorous EU tendering process where submissions from four short-listed consortia were considered.

John McLaughlin, Director of Architecture for the Docklands Authority said,: ‘We look forward to working with Geranger Ltd whose members bring a wealth of expertise in delivering tall buildings across the UK and further afield. This consortium working with Norman Foster will deliver an enduring landmark for Dublin’.

The Docklands Authority appointed three architectural consultants -.Chris Wilkinson of Wilkinson Eyre Architects, Shih-Fu Peng of Heneghan Peng Architects and Michael O’Doherty, former principal architect at the OPW to evaluate the architectural and design elements of the proposals.

Since the original design competition, the parameters of the development changed. The original design concept was for a 60 metre tower on a smaller footprint, but following the recent planning amendment for the Grand Canal Dock Planning Scheme area, the tower was increased to 120 metres in height, with an adjoining multi-storey building moving from what was considered a local landmark to a city landmark.

Developers were required to submit bids to develop the U2 Tower architectural concept designed by Burdon Craig Dunne Henry (bcdh) and were also offered the option of submitting a variant design for both the U2 Tower and the Britain Quay building. Two consortia opted to submit a variant design alongside a proposal for the original. In total, six schemes were assessed across criteria of architecture and design, project execution plans and financial offers.