Health HQ voted as city's ugliest building 'set to be demolished'
Published 10/08/2015 | 08:19
Hawkins House, which is widely regarded as one of Dublin's ugliest office buildings, is facing demolition.
Plans being considered by the Office of Public Works (OPW) will see the headquarters of the Department of Health being redeveloped.
The body is in the process of coming up with an action plan for the site and has consulted owners of nearby properties.
"The OPW is evaluating a range of options for the future use of Hawkins House and this has involved discussions with adjoining owners," a spokesman said.
"While no firm decisions have yet been made, it is envisaged that Hawkins House will be demolished and the site redeveloped."
The landmark, 12-storey office block dates back to the 1960s. The complex was one of the first wave of "modernist" developments in the city and the site it occupies is in a prominent location within Dublin's city centre.
However, it has repeatedly been voted the 'ugliest building in Dublin' and its shabby condition has been much commented upon in recent years.
One former health minister said on taking up office that half the windows in the building wouldn't open, and the other half wouldn't close.
The fate of the building has been the subject of much speculation over the past decade.
The upper level of the building has been unoccupied for some time.
At the top of the building is a penthouse flat which hasn't been used since the 1970s, complete with floral wallpaper and one bedroom.
Health Minister Leo Varadkar did a tour of the building when he took office and was surprised to discover the flat at the summit.
"There was this lurid floral wallpaper on the walls, a dirty avocado toilet suite and some old whiskey bottles scattered about. There was just one bedroom. I've no idea who, if anyone, lived in it," Mr Varadkar told a newspaper last year.
He said he'd be sticking with his apartment in Dublin 15.
The building has also had to contend with pesky seagulls.
In January this year, a public tender was issued to install a deterrent system aimed at displacing a growing seagull colony from the top of the building.
Managers were forced to take action as maintenance crews were having to run the gauntlet of seagull attacks. They required access to the roof on a regular basis to attend the numerous mobile phone masts there, while in-house maintenance staff required access for general maintenance on the roof.
Netting was subsequently erected on the roof to combat the problem by a pest control firm and the problem was eliminated.
The Department of Health declined at the time to say how much the contract was worth, stating that the information was commercially sensitive.
The Department said it didn't know if the seagull problem was becoming worse due to an increase in the seagull population or due to the fact that other tall buildings in the vicinity had installed pest control measures.
There has been speculation that the staff at the Department of Health could relocate to the Central Bank headquarters on Dame Street, The Sunday Times reported.
The Central Bank has been developing a new city centre head office at North Wall Quay.
Meanwhile, the Poolbeg Street site has the potential for significant redevelopment.
The building is on the route of the new Luas cross-city project, linking up the Red and Green lines.
Members of Dublin City Council adopted the George's Quay Local Area Plan in July 2012, which outlines plans for the redevelopment of the area.