Poll: Should former Central Bank building get protected status

‘Golden ball’ sculpture outside Dublin headquarters also to be listed

The former headquarters of the Central Bank in Dublin and Éamonn O’Doherty’s Crann an Óir sculpture are to be added to the city’s record of protected structures. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

The former headquarters of the Central Bank in Dublin and Éamonn O’Doherty’s Crann an Óir sculpture are to be added to the city’s record of protected structures. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

 

The former headquarters of the Central Bank on Dame Street in Dublin, designed by architect Sam Stephenson in the 1970s, is to be added to the city’s record of protected structures.

The listing of the building, which was recently sold by the bank to a US/Hong Kong investment consortium for €67 million, will severely restrict options for its redevelopment.

Independent city councillor Mannix Flynn more than two years ago sought the protection for the building which was completed in 1978, saying the bank and plaza had “won the hearts of many Dubliners” and were an important part of Stephenson’s legacy.

The council’s planning department has recommended the bank and plaza, which includes Éamonn O’Doherty’s Crann an Óir sculpture, the golden ball towards the front of the plaza, should be added to the list.

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National importance

In his assessment senior planner Paraic Fallon said the bank was of “national importance having architectural, historical and technical significance”.

The design and construction methods “displayed pioneering technical innovation” he said. Its eight storeys were built from the top down, with each floor suspended from two central shafts housing lifts and stairs, and Mr Fallon said it remained “the only suspended building in Ireland”.

Few 20th-century buildings have been added to the protected structures list, and those that have are mostly from the earlier part of the century.

Protected-structure status comes with an obligation to preserve all parts of the building, including interiors, land around it and any other structures on that land. However, the council has said the security railings added to the building in 1998 and the commercial buildings immediately to the east do not merit protection.

US real-estate company Hines and Hong Kong firm Peterson Group are planning a top-floor bar and restaurant for the site.