Bolands Quay lit up at night.; Bolands Quay lit up at night.;

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, breathes new life into the Docklands’ industrial warehouses – a cornerstone of Irish history.

Offering a mix of residential, retail and office space, 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 sits alongside three new landmark tapered towers over a three-storey basement. 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.

Completed in 2022 and handed over to Google as an expansion of their EMEA headquarters, 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 provided multidisciplinary engineering services for the campus which has a clear sustainability remit, with the entire development targeting a LEED Gold standard.

Project Summary

3 new landmark towers

5conservation buildings

1pedestrian bridge

Coordinated approach delivers a sustainable solution

Arup applied 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 carried 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.

Through our multidisciplinary engineering services, we have managed to deliver a sensitive but ground-breaking refurbishment to create a unique development. ” Darragh Canning Darragh Canning Director

Enhancing efficiency through digital tools

Using modelling software enabled a more efficient design. Our use of a common data environment supported ease of collaboration on this project, with the new build being delivered to BIM level 2.

The height of the towers posed a design challenge which required the use of advanced structural packages, particularly for the residential tower which has a slender core and relies, in part, upon the perimeter walls above ground to control lateral deflections.

Industrial heritage site preps for the future

Transforming the industrial heritage of this area into a tech campus, Arup created an integrated engineering solution for the entire site, preserving the character of the protected warehouses. Facilitating the phased development of the site was a key challenge. 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 historical character of the Boland’s Mill site and its protected buildings presented significant challenges, requiring careful work. Arup’s design ensured that the buildings were 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. 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.

Flexible design: future-proofing the new towers

The three new towers inform the dock’s skyline, rising to 47.8 metres, 49 metres and 53 metres respectively with their characteristic tapered profiles. The towers share an entrance with an adjacent building, requiring careful coordination, particularly in terms of MEP services.

Bolands Quay, showing a bridge over the Grand Canal in the foreground with a bus, cars and pedestrians. Bolands Quay, showing a bridge over the Grand Canal in the foreground with a bus, cars and pedestrians.

Our mechanical and electrical engineers sought to achieve best-in-class status for commercial space in Dublin. From concept stage, the design incorporated passive design features to drive down the energy footprint of the buildings. The design incorporates high-quality system selections and highly efficient design to ensure the building primary energy use is minimised. The design delivered on the client’s high performance brief with 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.