Business Irish

Friday 28 April 2017

Controversial structure won many fans for its bold styling

The former Bank of Ireland headquarters on Baggot Street has been making the news for five decades.



The purpose-built offices were constructed between 1968 and 1978 in an uncompromising "modernist" style that was controversial. It can still shock first-time visitors to Dublin's mostly Georgian-era Baggot Street.

The distinctive green-brown facade's exposed steel and tinted glass reportedly used so much bronze manganese that global markets for the commodity were affected during construction. It was designed for the bank by Donald Tallon of Dublin architects Scott Tallon Walker.

Reactions

Public reactions to the building have always been mixed but it served as a home to Bank of Ireland for 40 years before it was sold to the Derek Quinlan investor consortium in 2006.

The three-block building housed around 1,700 Bank of Ireland staff until 2010 when the bank moved most of its head-quarters to Mespil Road.

The Quinlan-led group paid around €200m for the property, seeing off rival offers from underbidders understood to have included investment company Bank of Ireland Private, Green Property, Bernard McNamara, Shelbourne Developments and Treasury Holdings.

Despite the brutality of its facade, the building has always had its admirers. Nobel laureate Seamus Heaney emerged as part of a successful campaign to block the Quinlan-led investors getting planning permission to develop a two-story extension in 2008.

New owners Bank of Scotland and its partners will be hoping the distinctive property can win over a new generation of corporate titans before too long.

Irish Independent

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