Sam Stephenson (1933-2006)

Sam Stephenson was one of Ireland’s most controversial architects. He studied at the Dublin Institute of Technology and in England, France and Switzerland. His most famous (or infamous) buildings include the Central Bank of Ireland (1975), Dublin Corporation Offices at Wood Quay (Phase I 1976) and the ESB Headquarters in Fitzwilliam Street (1975). All of these buildings attracted controversy. The Central Bank of Ireland, although structurally a ground breaking design was criticised for its height in the midst of the old city and its blatant disregard for the planning authorities. The buildings at Wood Quay were never completed as designed due to the public outcry about the viking city found buried on the site and Dublin Corporation’s loss of nerve. The site was later completed with a building designed by Ronnie Tallon of Scott Tallon Walker. The ESB Headquarters entailed the destruction of the longest complete Georgian streetscape in Europe with 11 complete house being demolished creating a huge break in the flow of Fitzwilliam Street / Square and Merrion Square. He received the RIAI Gold Medal in 1985.