Selected via an international design competition in 2011, Grafton Architects and O'Mahony Pike Architects' design for a new Headquarters for the ESB is sited on Fitzwilliam Street Lower in the first block to the south of Merrion Square. Located here since 1927, the ESB wanted to remain on Fitzwilliam St, a prominent Georgian Streetscape in the middle of Dublin’s historic Georgian core. The ESB occupied an entire city block in a mixture of protected 18th Century buildings and a collection of 20th Century additions. The design involves a site-responsive set of buildings along Fitzwilliam Street Lower, engaging the Georgian buildings' typical characteristics, with the intention to 'reinstate the unconscious rhythm of the Georgian street' that had been lost in the 1960s. The site is made permeable by the inclusion of a pedestrian route through the centre of the site from Lower Fitzwilliam Street to James' Street East, connecting to a new public space at the south west corner of the site on James Street East. The interlocking interior and exterior spaces, multiple level pathways, sunken gardens and a café-restaurant are intended to encourage interaction, where office workers and the public can meet. Still under construction, the main development consists of two interconnected office buildings, one will accommodate the ESB Head Office, whilst the other will be made available commercially. The development incorporates several innovative sustainable technologies which will reduce carbon emissions and running costs, delivering a near zero energy building.
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