The Marker Hotel
The Marker Hotel is located in Dublin’s South Docks area and has a pivotal location on the new Grand Canal Square. Bought over in 2012 by Brehon Capital partners and Mid-west Holdings the hotel is now complete and open for business. The Square was designed by American landscape architect Martha Schwartz to form a centrepiece to the Dublin Docklands Development Authority masterplan for the south docks area. In an area formerly used for heavy industrial processes such as creosote production and gasometers the new square was seen as the heart of this masterplan, creating the first new public square in Dublin since the Georgian squares were laid out in the 18th century. The Square is positioned on the edge of the Grand Canal Dock and designed to complement the new Bord Gais Energy Theatre, with its coloured paving forming a ‘red carpet’ leading across the square from the dock to the theatre entrance and a similar ‘green’ carpet extending to the hotel.
The docklands area has been totally regenerated in the last decade, with many of the city’s large legal firms and IFSC banks relocating to new office buildings in the area, which has also become a hub for the tech industry. The European headquarters for Facebook and Google are located nearby and have led to the area’s new name ‘the silicone-docks’. These hi-techs are further complemented by the east end of the Trinity campus where world-leading research is carried out. Irelands premier sporting and entertainment venues in the immediate vicinity include the O2; The Bord Gais Energy Theatre; the Aviva stadium and the National Conference Centre
McCauley Daye O’Connell were employed to realise the concept design for a new hotel on Grand Canal Square a dramatic design which draws its inspiration from the Irish landscape and in particular the Irish coastline.
That architectural concept for the hotel building envisaged a single costal form eroded over time. This erosion formed a series of public spaces on the ground floor of the hotel. This concept encompassed the hotel bedrooms located overhead, which were envisaged as a honeycomb of openings formed through the form giving the bedrooms their unique shape and design. The walls of the bedrooms wrap out to a single frameless picture window. The chequerboard façade form is constructed from lightweight glass reinforced concrete panels with frameless glazing, which reduced the enormous stresses on the cantilever structure below and facilitates the manipulation of the architectural form
The mass of the bedroom block is balanced onto just three columns at ground floor level. The eroded voids between these column supports create the public spaces of the hotel lobby, bar and restaurant.
To express the geometry of this design concept, the ground floor public areas are wrapped in a fully glazed 6 metre high façade enabling views into and through the building, facilitating visual and physical connection with the Square. To achieve the openness of the entire ground floor Arup, the structural engineers, designed the most complex cantilevered bridge structure ever built in Ireland, which is a 67 metres in length and has no intermediate supports. The bridge allows the hotel to have the largest open lobby in Dublin with uninterrupted sightlines from the bar to the restaurant and a flexibility to allow one to intermingle with the other when desired.