Developer reaches out instead of up in the Dublin docklands

Architects say unused space above water and rail tracks could facilitate development

While most developers insist on reaching for the sky in the Dublin docklands, there are those who believe in reaching out.

One good example is Eric Kinsella, majority shareholder of the Jones Engineering Group, who with the expertise of Smith + Kennedy Architects, managed to maximise the space available to him at Grand Canal Quay for the construction last year of Waterways House.

The design of the 3,500sq m (37,764sq ft) building represents a fresh departure for Dublin, incorporating as it does, an area of office space which has been built out above the water.

Having completed the Waterways House project on behalf of Kinsella's property vehicle, Esprit Investments, Smith + Kennedy contend that a similar approach could be applied to the design of buildings located next to other unused spaces above water and rail tracks elsewhere in the capital.



Another interesting aspect of the building is the use of a material known as krion for its exterior.

Commenting on this, Joe Kennedy, lead architect on the Waterways House project, said: “Krion is an important part of the story. The motivation was to use a material that would continue to look well over many years in a city centre site. As anyone will be aware from looking around the city, facades regularly deteriorate quickly and become stained and grubby.

“This is normally due to a combination of inappropriate selection of materials and bad detailing which allow dirt to lodge on ledges which then gets washed down on the face of the building. Krion is a ‘new-generation’ material that prevents this. We used it on a house by the sea in Dalkey, and now on Waterways House. It’s the first time it has been used commercially in Ireland.”

Ronald Quinlan

Ronald Quinlan

Ronald Quinlan is Property Editor of The Irish Times