Architecture firm Urban Agency has designed a landmark tower called Dock Mill to rise along Dublin's waterfront in Ireland. At 14 floors, the project was designed to set a precedent for future projects on a national and global scale. At the same time, the team's vision was made to be reverent of the mill’s past and grow out of this history. Dock Mill draws inspiration from both nature and the surrounding docklands.
Conceptually, the design for Dock Mill’s timber structure traces back to its material source: the tree. "Sinking its roots into the existing structure of the mill, the new building expansion respectfully depends on this historical foundation, deriving from the silhouette of the mill’s triangular gable." From this point, the timber structure grows upward in a network of timber rafters that mimic tree branches, surrounding the trunk-like solid mass of the stair and elevator shaft.
Explaining the benefits of timber, the team notes that, "Timber has been used for thousands of years as a traditional building material, yet, this natural material has too often been excluded from modern urban design. Its sustainability, flexibility, transportability and natural beauty is slowly reintroducing timber back into the architectural arsenal, reconnecting the urban domain with the natural realm. Drawing inspiration from timber’s natural qualities, the proposal for Dock Mill envisages a sustainable project that preserves nature both conceptually and materially."
The design is dedicated equally to both office space (in the new addition of the timber tower) and apartments (in the existing mill). Embracing diverse work-styles, the project creates multi-functional spaces that maintain adaptability to changing future functions. Dock Mill’s design also introduces a boardwalk that will link the row of building facades with the waterfront. Wrapped in a double skin glass facade, the tower merges indoors with outdoors.
Developer Lioncor's CEO John Maxwell noted that, "Sustainability is at the heart of Lioncor, in collaboration with Urban Agency we have created a future vision for Dock Mill situated in Dublin’s Silicon quarter. The attractive brick mill building sits on a fabulous waterfront location and has a New York style loft feel to its interior and it is this aged character that we wanted to retain whilst elevating the building to meet its taller neighbours. Our collaboration has created a truly unique and sustainable piece of modern architecture that not only challenges the way we look at the existing Urban environment but also the need to be more experimental in our construction methodologies utilising CLT and other low carbon technologies."
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