Friday 17 August 2018

€140m 'cashless' Central Bank building sets the gold standard

The new Central Bank building in the Docklands Photo: Frank Mc Grath
The new Central Bank building in the Docklands Photo: Frank Mc Grath
Luke Byrne

Luke Byrne

It started life as the planned new headquarters of Anglo Irish Bank but €140m later it will house the Central Bank.

The building was for long the symbol of Ireland's catastrophic financial sector collapse as it lay half completed on the quays.

The building has walkways criss-crossing the atrium and a gold-coloured exterior Photo:Frank Mc Grath
The building has walkways criss-crossing the atrium and a gold-coloured exterior Photo:Frank Mc Grath

Now, the building which for years stood as a naked shell on Dublin's North Wall Quay, is just months away from opening the new HQ for Ireland's banking regulatory body.

Yesterday, it swung open its doors for a preview - and there wasn't a note or coin in sight because this is a 'cashless' building.

One of its most striking features are the golden panels across the windows, which were designed as an expression of strength.

Chief architect on the project, Peter McGovern, said the building on the banks of the River Liffey was designed with a maritime theme in mind.

"The outward expression is a reflection of the maritime environment," Mr McGovern said.

"They were designed to look like the sales of tall ships."

Designers claimed this feature was a nod to the trade that has happened along the River Liffey for centuries.

"They are made of triangles, which is a representation of strength," the architect said.

He explained the gold colour of the panels was a feature of the aluminium used to make them.

The building was purchased in 2013, with a price tag of €7m.

The design, planning application process and appointment of façade contractor was completed in 2014.

By 2015, the main contractor, Walls Construction, had been commissioned and works began at the site.

The Central Bank has estimated the total cost of the project to be €140m.

It is moving from the iconic building on Dublin's Dame Street.

While works are still under way on the building, around 30 bank staff have already transferred to the site, from their previous home on Dame Street.

Paul Molumby, director of currency and facilities management at the Central Bank, was its lead man on the project.

While showing off the new restaurant facility, he pointed out it was "a cashless building" and workers would pay for meals with cards.

"Just to burst a myth - there's no vaults," he said.

"It's a building with no money."

Much was made of the environmentally friendly nature of the building - which will have an A2 efficiency rating.

Mr Molumby also explained how senior members of the bank - directors, governor and deputy governors - would not be on the top floors.

The plan is for these officials to work among the general staff.

Irish Independent

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