British architect chosen to design U2 Tower

Internationally renowned British architect Norman Foster was today announced as the visionary behind Ireland’s first skyscraper – the U2 Tower.

The €200m scheme, which will soar 120 metres over Dublin’s docklands, will house the iconic rock band’s egg-shaped recording studio at its peak.

It was commissioned by Geranger Ltd, a consortium including property developers Ballymore and U2 members Bono, The Edge, Larry Mullen Jnr and Adam Clayton.

Mr Foster, whose notable projects include the Gherkin in London and the Millau Viaduct in France, was chosen by Dublin’s Docklands Development Authority (DDDA) as the project‘s design winner.

Paul Maloney, DDDA Chief Executive, said: “We are delighted to have achieved our ambition of realising an inspirational landmark design, while at the same time maximising public usage and access.

“This design will be a very special building for Docklands and Dublin City while integrating the Britain Quay and U2 Tower buildings in a distinct and coherent fashion on the waterfront,” he said.

As well as the band’s recording studio, the inspirational building will include a public viewing platform at 100 metres, a public amenity area at the base, hotel, retail and residential accommodation including 20% social and affordable housing.

“It will also provide visitors the opportunity to experience spectacular views across Dublin city and bay, and for the community offers significant social and affordable housing potential,” Mr Maloney said.

An original U2 Tower plan – a twisting structure designed by a Dublin-based architectural firm – was to be built at a height of just 60 metres.

But following a recent planning amendment for the area, the tower was redesigned and increased to 120 metres in height with an adjoining site added.

The announcement of preferred bidder status for Geranger Ltd followed a EU tendering process where submissions from four short-listed consortia were considered.

Mr Foster is an internationally acclaimed architect, having designed some of the world‘s most iconic structures.

These include the Millau Viaduct in France – the tallest vehicular bridge in the world – the Bilbao Metro and New York‘s Hearst Tower.

The U2 Tower will be located in the Grand Canal Dock area, where DDDA is working with some of the world’s leading architects on projects such as the Studio Libeskind-designed Grand Canal Theatre, the Manuel Aires Mateus designed hotel, and the recently opened Martha Schwartz designed Grand Canal Square.

Work on the landmark project is due to begin next year with a completion date expected by 2011.

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