Photomontage showing Bolands Quay in Grand Canal Dock.; Photomontage showing Bolands Quay in Grand Canal Dock.;

Bolands Quay, Dublin

Dublin regeneration scheme puts Docklands at heart of global tech

The urban regeneration scheme behind Bolands Quay, one of Dublin’s largest to date, will breathe new life into the Docklands’ industrial warehouses, anchoring the district firmly at the heart of the world’s knowledge economy.

The city’s past and future are woven together in this iconic waterfront site, where the restoration of the original 1830s grain storage and stone mills will sit alongside three new landmark tapered towers offering a mix of residential, retail and office space. A new pedestrian bridge and two new plazas link the campus to the local area, also known as Silicon Docks, alongside a 549m2 space to host cultural events.

Once complete, the entire campus will accommodate up to 2,500 workers over 36,851m2 of office, residential, retail and cultural space. Designed with Burke Kennedy Doyle Architects, Arup is providing multidisciplinary engineering services for the campus which has a clear sustainability remit, with the entire development targeting a LEED Gold standard.

Dublin has successfully regenerated its harbour quarter as an innovation hub, inviting a host of leading technology companies to set up headquarters amid the area’s buzzing restaurants, shops and cafés. The Bolands Quay development is set for completion on a phased basis from mid-2019.

Coordinating multiple teams to deliver a sustainable solution

Arup is applying a multidisciplinary engineering approach to bring these buildings, including the protected structures, together to fully respond to the Strategic Development Zone (SDZ) objectives of sustainable inner city regeneration.

We are carrying out structural, civil, mechanical, electrical, geotechnical, façade and traffic engineering, environmental consultancy, as well as health and safety and lighting services. Other disciplines within Arup advised on specific aspects of the works, such as maritime engineers and highway engineers helping with the design and execution of the new pedestrian bridge.

Project Summary


3 new landmark towers

5conservation buildings

1pedestrian bridge

Through our multidisciplinary engineering services, we have managed to deliver a sensitive but ground-breaking refurbishment to create a unique development. ” Conor Hayes Conor Hayes Chartered Structural Engineer

Industrial heritage site preps for the future

Transforming the industrial heritage of this area into a tech campus, Arup has created an integrated engineering solution for the entire site, preserving the character of the protected warehouses. A key challenge has been facilitating the phased development of the site. This included enabling works which began ahead of the appointment of the main contractor and separate new-build, pedestrian bridge and conservation works packages.

The Bolands Quay development is set for completion on a phased basis from mid-2019.

The historical character of the Boland’s Mill site and its protected buildings presented significant challenges, requiring careful work. Arup’s design ensures that the buildings will be refurbished to modern standards, while respecting the character of the listed buildings. After receiving planning permission in July 2015, the client appointed Arup to act as contracts administrator and project supervisor for the design process (PSDP) for the demolition and enabling works. This PSDP role continues until handover. The initial works included stabilisation of the protected structures, demolition of the modern concrete silos and associated structures, the specification of a monitoring strategy, as well as enabling works for the main construction project.

Arup undertook a site investigation during the early-stage enabling works, including geotechnical, environmental and site infrastructure. We designed the secant piling of the basement perimeter wall and basement excavation; together with the design, procurement and supervision of a site investigation and remediation contract for the decontamination works. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) commended Arup on the effectiveness of the decontamination work.

Digital tools enable more efficient design

Arup’s use of modelling software enables more efficient design. Our use of a common data environment supports ease of collaboration on this project, with the new build being delivered to BIM level 2.

Our use of advanced structural packages helped us to solve the design challenges posed by the height of the towers, particularly the residential tower which has a slender core and relies, in part, upon the perimeter walls above ground to control lateral deflections.


Flexible design: future-proofing the new towers

The three new towers will inform the dock’s skyline, rising to 47.8 metres, 49 metres and 53 metres respectively with their characteristic tapered profiles. They sit above a site-wide two- and three-storey basement. The towers share an entrance with an adjacent building, requiring careful coordination, particularly in terms of MEP services.

Photomontage showing Bolands Quay by Grand Canal Dock. Photomontage showing Bolands Quay by Grand Canal Dock.

The MEP design intent for the commercial towers is to achieve best-in-class status for commercial space in Dublin. The design incorporates a high-quality system selection and highly efficient design targeting a BER A3 certification.

The system is highly flexible, set out in a modular configuration and can easily adapt to changes in layout, such as the introduction of cellular office spaces. The Building Energy Monitoring System (BEMS) enables full energy monitoring and reporting from the individual services and meters installed for each tenant.