ESB’s €150m plan for Dublin headquarters approved

Redevelopment of Stephenson/Gibney building given go ahead by council

ESB Headquarters on Fitzwilliam Street.. In the plans lodged by the company, parts of the development would have been seven storeys high, far taller than the surrounding Georgian houses. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

ESB Headquarters on Fitzwilliam Street.. In the plans lodged by the company, parts of the development would have been seven storeys high, far taller than the surrounding Georgian houses. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

 

ESB plans to demolish and redevelop its 1960s Fitzwilliam Street headquarters at a cost of about €150 million have been given approval by Dublin City Council.

In 2013 the company said it intended to knock the building designed by architects Sam Stephenson and Arthur Gibney and replace it with a development doubling the capacity of the existing offices.

However, the proposed scheme, designed by Grafton Architects and O’Mahony Pike, did not comply with the Dublin City Development Plan which required the Georgian facades of the 16 buildings, demolished to make way for the headquarters almost 50 years ago, be reinstated.

City councillors voted last March to change the development plan, removing the reference to facade reinstatement, to allow the ESB to apply for planning permission.

Respectful

The new office complex will be modern but, the company says is “respectful of the surrounding Georgian area”. Instead of recreating 18th century facades the development will attempt to “reinstate the Georgian rhythm” by dividing the building into five blocks or “fingers” to suggest the width of historic house plots. The complex will have courtyards, accessible to the public as well as staff, and seven doors along the front.

In the plans lodged by the company, parts of the development would have been seven storeys high, far taller than the surrounding Georgian houses. However, the council said it had “serious concerns” about the visual impact of the height on the Georgian streetscape.

The Department of Arts and Heritage said the three seven-storey blocks should be reduced to five storeys and the other blocks should be proportionately lower.

In response, the height of two blocks has been reduced by one floor, and floors linking some blocks have been removed.