A sneak preview of the Central Bank’s new €140 million HQ

Building will include a centre for yoga and pilates and a seventh-floor cafe

The Central Bank of Ireland's new €140 million eco-headquarters will have a seventh-floor cafe with an outdoor terrace where staff can enjoy stunning views of the river Liffey.

The first images of the interior of the new building reveal that the new offices of the Central Bank will come complete with a wellness centre for yoga and pilates classes as well as extensive use of Irish limestone to reflect its river setting.

The seventh-floor cafe near the top of the building, which was once earmarked as an office for David Drumm, the chief executive of Anglo Irish Bank and his team, has a landscaped terrace with room to allow 50 staff sit outdoors.

The Central Bank described this cafe as “limited catering facilities”, and stressed that this floor would also include work stations and a training centre. It said: “The existing structure and associated planning for the building included a terrace / balcony on the 7th floor.”

The main staff restaurant is on the first floor and is designed to include tables, booths and stools.

Entering the main lobby, visitors will be struck by Irish limestone running the full length of the building. An exhibition space and coffee station are also included on the ground floor. Offices for senior management, including the governor of the Central Bank, are on the second floor.

The 30,000 sq m building can house 1,400 staff and contains a range of open floor office areas and meeting rooms.

In the basement is what the Central Bank calls a “wellness centre” which is “two multi-purpose activity spaces” suitable for yoga, pilates or other fitness classes. This area includes showers and changing rooms.

The Central Bank defended its new offices as appropriate. “The facilities and finishes have been designed to a standard sufficient to provide a fit-for-purpose working environment,” it said.

“The emphasis of design is on addressing the environmental challenges of solar glare and heat, maximising operational efficiencies and value for money.”

‘Progressive and fulfilling’

It said it believed its modern offices would help create a “progressive and fulfilling work environment for our staff” that would seek to “maximise the opportunities that the building provides to introduce new ways of working.”

Michael McGrath, Fianna Fáil’s finance spokesman, said: “While I do not dispute the need for the Central Bank to have a more modern office facility, the specification and cost associated with the new building needs to take account of the chastened circumstances which the customers of banks and of financial institutions currently find themselves in.”

“Ultimately, the cost of the new Central Bank HQ is being borne by taxpayers and the emphasis needs to be on providing office accommodation that is functional and practical rather than on what is extravagant and eye-catching,” he added.

“Of far greater importance than the physical office environment is the quality of the regulation and oversight provided by the Central Bank. Effective regulation and oversight is the Central Bank’s core business and these are the areas where the greatest investment is warranted.”