Re: Re: Liberty Hall

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Design competition to replace Liberty Hall

Redevelopment Siptu is to opt for an architectural competition to design a replacement for its headquarters, although it will be a few years yet before Liberty Hall faces the wrecker’s ball, writes Gretchen Friemann

Debate over Liberty Hall’s planned demolition is likely to intensify over the next two weeks when Siptu advertises an architectural competition to design a replacement for the iconic tower.

A large scale heritage centre and a performing arts space are among the features that architects will have to include in their proposal for a new skyscraper.

A notice announcing the competition is due to be published in the EU Official Journal by the end of next week.

Although any decision regarding the 16-storey building’s fate must be taken in conjunction with the planning authorities, the move brings Liberty Hall’s date with the wrecker’s ball ever closer.

However, Siptu’s general secretary, Joe O’Flynn, claims the architectural competition will “realise the very best design” for the union’s next headquarters and insists the new skyscraper will “over time become equally as iconic” as the existing 1960s tower.

The organisation hopes that a comprehensive heritage centre – covering the birth of the labour movement in the early 20th century to the formation of Siptu from the merger of the ITGWU and the FWUI unions in 1990 – will prove to be one of the building’s most popular attractions.

According to O’Flynn, the exhibition will explore the turbulent periods of the 1913 Lockout and the 1916 Rising, as well as provide in-depth analysis of the union’s founding fathers, Jim Larkin and James Connolly.

Siptu expects the widespread interest in the labour movement and its rich history in the foundation of the State will ensure the venture is self-financing, and “can wash its own face”, as one source close to the design process of the new headquarters put it.

The redeveloped site will also include a 200-seat performing arts space, which will double as a theatre and a lecture hall for the heritage centre.

O’Flynn was keen to emphasise the tower’s green credentials, claiming it will be a “zero-energy building” with the latest modern technologies.

However, he also indicated that Siptu would not be embarking on a joint venture with a developer and said the union would prefer to maintain control of the project by contracting out the building work.

The advertisement for the architectural competition will stipulate a large number of design requirements although it will not specify how high the new tower should be.

However, O’Flynn said that if there is sufficient public interest in the design brief for Liberty Hall’s replacement, Siptu will consider publishing a booklet on the architectural requirements.

One thing is certain though, the demolition of the city’s first skyscraper is going to be a long drawn out process.

A decision on the design will not be taken until the end of the year at the earliest and construction on the new tower is likely to be delayed until 2011.

© 2007 The Irish Times

So they are planning a shiny new ‘skyscraper’ to replace this iconic (:confused: ) 1960’s structure
I’m prepared to be bored silly with endless setbacks and changes, anti high rise protests……and so on

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