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Grand Canal Square is a development of office buildings setting a landmark standard in environmental sustainability for the Irish commercial sector. No.2, 4 and 5 Grand Canal Square have all been awarded an ‘Excellent’ rating under the Building Research Establishments BREEAM code for sustainable buildings, the highest level achievable. BREEAM is one of the world’s most widely used environmental assessment method for buildings and sets the standard for best practice in sustainable design and is regarded as a universal measure of a building’s environmental performance. The buildings also achieved a BER A3 certificate. These achievements came about through a shared vision and collaborative approach developed by the client, design team and contractor over the life of the project.
Conceived as bookend buildings in the overall urban form of the docklands development they are located north and south of the new Grand Canal Theatre by Studio Daniel Libeskind, the building forms were designed to respond to the site conditions and orientation from the outset. At ground level in No.2 there is a route through the building from Macken Street to the recently developed Grand Canal Square. This route takes the visitor through the dramatic atrium space at the heart of the building. This atrium is top lit through a fully glazed roof that is etched with similar filigree to the main facades. The central feature of the atrium is the enormous art installation of the Letter Wall. Rising through seven storeys it represents the ten Thunderwords from Joyce’s Finnegans’ Wake. Each Thunderword consists of one hundred letters and these one thousand letters are created as reversed negatives of typeset, as would be seen in traditional hand printing. The floor below mirrors the break-up of the typeset with sections of words shown as they would appear when printed.
The office floor plates are designed to allow maximum flexibility for occupants. They are shallow enough to allow the required daylight penetration for BREEAM purposes but deep enough to allow the multiple configurations required of a commercial office development. Variations of office layout from full open plan, to open plan with cellular office, to full double-banked cellular office layouts are possible within the floor plates. No2 GCS has been fitted out for Byrne Wallace Solicitors who successfully use the double-banked cellular configuration.