U2 Tower rises as it goes to planning


The long awaited planning application for the U2 Tower on Dublin's south Docklands has been lodged with the Dublin Docklands Development Authority (DDDA) - and outlines plans for a tower that is substantially higher than expected at 130 metres, 10 metres higher than the Spire.

According to the DDDA's Director of Architecture, John McLaughlin, the 30-storey twisting tower at the end of Sir John Rogerson's Quay will be mostly apartments - up to 100 metres - but will be crowned by a recording studio for U2 in a penthouse and a pinnacle that will give it a total height of 130 metres above street level.

The DDDA can fast track the application so it will not be held up by a public appeals process.

The anticipated completion date is 2008/2009. When it is built Bono and the boys will be able to take a dedicated lift down to the café and terrace at its base after a hard session in their recording studio.

Whether they will have first dibs on any of its 182 one, two and three-bed apartments remains to be seen. The apartments will have "stunning views of the bay and back out towards the mountain", says McLaughlin, as well as a high degree of glazing, generous floor sizes and high specifications across the board.

One estate agent reckons that two-bedroom units will be €1 million to €1.5 million "depending on how high up you go and whether it has a view of the sea. As it twists, the views will differ."

McLaughlin describes the building, designed by Burdon Craig Dunne Henry (BCDH), as having a sculptural quality. "Like a Brancusi sculpture, it looks different when you look at it from different angles."

It will twist gradually as it rises, "with the last floor rotated 45 degrees in relation to the first floor and the tower will have a width of 26m". While construction costs of €55 million to €100 million are being bandied about, McLaughlin says it is impossible to estimate.

"We don't yet have a building this tall and the tallest building in Dublin so far was built 30 years ago. It's quite a new construction type. Most builders are used to building six to eight storeys but this is something new." The DDDA has advertised for a development team with experience in delivering high-rise towers and it is believed that all the major developers such as Liam Carroll of Zoe and Treasury Holdings will compete for the job. Pre-selection for a development partner should take place by the end of the year.