Friday 28 October 2016

ESB gets planning to rebuild its 'infamous' headquarters

Paul Melia Environment Editor

Published 17/09/2015 | 02:30

An artist’s impression image of what the new €150m ESB headquarters will look like
An artist’s impression image of what the new €150m ESB headquarters will look like

THE ESB has been given the green light for a new €150m headquarters in Dublin.

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An Bord Pleanala has granted permission for the development, subject to 19 conditions, which includes carrying out a survey of the controversial Block A, built by architect Sam Stephenson in the 1960s, and which involved the demolition of 16 Georgian Buildings on what was known as the 'Georgian Mile.

The development site includes buildings dating from the 1940s to the 1980s, ranging in height from four to seven storeys, including 11 protected structures.

All of the 20th century buildings will be demolished, with nine protected Georgian houses to be refurbished.

The new building will be almost 50,000 square metres, and include 36,917 square metres of office space. Some 440 bicycles will be accommodated, along with 110 car parking spaces.


In addition, 11 apartments will be developed along with private and public open spaces in the form of terraces, balconies and garden areas, along with a café/restaurant.

The board said that the Sam Stephenson building should be subject to a detailed survey and added to the records of the Irish Architectural Archives, despite not being a protected structure.

It notes that the building is "well-known, perhaps infamous" within architectural, planning and conservation circles.

The development is across a 1.2 hectare site. In its decision, the board said that "notwithstanding the high architectural quality" and "historic significance of the Stephenson building", it was not listed.

"The Board further had regard to the location of the proposal on the "Georgian Mile", the most important Georgian vista in Dublin and considered that this diminished the case for the retention of Block A," it said.


"Having regard to the submissions on file and to the difficulties presented in operational terms by the complex of buildings on site, and having further regard to the nature of the proposed replacement buildings, the Board accepted the case for demolition of the buildings on the site including the demolition of Block A.

"The Board is satisfied that the proposed development would protect and improve the existing architectural and civic design character of this important part of Georgian Dublin."

It added that among the "primary matters" of concern was the impact of the proposed development on the Georgian street-scape.

"The site has frontage to some of the most significant Georgian streets in Dublin City including Fitzwilliam Street Lower, also known as the Georgian mile, reportedly one of the longest (almost) intact Georgian streets in the world.

"More distant views, at which the higher elements of the proposal would become apparent, would not detract from the character of this set piece vista".

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