Grand Canal Square

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Posted by Shapedscape     February 07, 2015    
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Bird's Eye View / Grand Canal Square designed by Martha Schwartz Partners in Dublin, Ireland © MSP

Details

Design By
Martha Schwartz Partners
Client
Dublin Docklands Development Corporation
Completed Year
2007
Area
1 ha
Budget
€8 million
Public
Yes
City
Dublin
Country
Ireland

Ideas for any project at Martha Schwartz Partners begin with a look into the history of the area. Free form ideas are generated around the table and then narrowed down to 4 or 5 concepts. Inspiration for Grand Canal Square came from the existing landscape and the theater by Studio Daniel Libeskind slated to be completed in 2010. The €8 million project has replaced a smaller paved space built over an underground car park.

Grand Canal Square is the major public open space in the Dublin Docklands Development area. It is located on Grand Canal in Dublin and forms the focal point of this new development. Facing out to Grand Canal it is flanked on its other end by Libeskind's prominent new theater and entertainment building as well as a new hotel to the north and an office development to the south. In this setting dominated by contemporary architectural expression, we have created a public space that will offer color and dynamism to Dublin's open spaces. Due to its cultural celebrity setting, we have developed a scheme with a central red carpet that leads from the theater out onto the canal and vice versa. A green carpet connects the new hotel to the office development.

The hardscape consists of a cracked-glass scheme, a series of criss-cross "paths of desire" stretching across the length of the square connecting various points of interest for pedestrians. The original square was much smaller. MSP wanted to enlarge the square by extending the hardscape up to the buildings' edges. Granite paving from the previous square, laid out just two years ago, has been recycled in the new design to create paths across the square in every direction while still allowing for the space to host major public events such as festivals and performances.

Extending out from the steps of the theater, the red carpet rolls into the square, spilling the magic of the theater into the public space and down to the water's edge. The carpet is made from bright red resin-glass pavings that reflect and capture light during the day. The red pick-up sticks imbedded into the carpet provide dramatic light at night.

The green carpet has a calmer expression and offers ample seating on the edges of planters of various heights. The planters, extruded polygons of the green carpet, are planted with marsh vegetation as a reminder of the historic wetland area of this site and some offer immaculate lawns for lingering and enjoying the spectacular setting. Pushing out of the plaza is a water feature of randomly stacked green marble that is overflowing with bubbling water. The square is further criss-crossed by narrow paths that allow for movement across the square in any possible direction while still allowing big activities such as markets or fairs. The new square will be an urban magnet with 24-hour activity and is an accurate interpretation of Dublin's energy.

The three triangular objects are the two pavilions and the water feature. The two pavilions allow access to the stairs and elevator leading to the underground parking as well as add ventilation. The pavilions are stainless steel mesh with blue walls and blue LED lights. The third triangle, a cascading fountain, evokes a boulder being pushed from the ground with different layers representing a "brook in spring". White LED lights illuminate the water at night.

In addition, the fact that it opens onto a large, non-tidal body of water makes it a unique space for Ireland, as such spaces have only traditionally occurred in Mediterranean cities, for example, Trieste and Venice.

Images courtesy of Martha Schwartz Partners. Photography by MSP and Tim Crocker.

Tags

Photos

Grand Canal Square by Martha Schwartz Partners in Dublin, Ireland © Tim Crocker
Grand Canal Square by Martha Schwartz Partners in Dublin, Ireland © Tim Crocker
Water Feature / Grand Canal Square designed by Martha Schwartz Partners in Dublin, Ireland © MSP
Water Feature / Grand Canal Square designed by Martha Schwartz Partners in Dublin, Ireland © MSP
Water Feature / Grand Canal Square designed by Martha Schwartz Partners in Dublin, Ireland © MSP
Grand Canal Square by Martha Schwartz Partners in Dublin, Ireland © Tim Crocker
Grand Canal Square designed by Martha Schwartz Partners in Dublin, Ireland © MSP
Grand Canal Square designed by Martha Schwartz Partners in Dublin, Ireland © MSP
Grand Canal Square designed by Martha Schwartz Partners in Dublin, Ireland © MSP
Grand Canal Square by Martha Schwartz Partners in Dublin, Ireland © Tim Crocker
Grand Canal Square designed by Martha Schwartz Partners in Dublin, Ireland © MSP
Grand Canal Square designed by Martha Schwartz Partners in Dublin, Ireland © MSP
Urban Furniture / Grand Canal Square designed by Martha Schwartz Partners in Dublin, Ireland © MSP
Urban Seating / Grand Canal Square designed by Martha Schwartz Partners in Dublin, Ireland © MSP
Planting / Grand Canal Square designed by Martha Schwartz Partners in Dublin, Ireland © MSP
Grand Canal Square designed by Martha Schwartz Partners in Dublin, Ireland © MSP
Bench / Grand Canal Square designed by Martha Schwartz Partners in Dublin, Ireland © MSP
Raised Planting Bed / Grand Canal Square designed by Martha Schwartz Partners in Dublin, Ireland © MSP
Grand Canal Square designed by Martha Schwartz Partners in Dublin, Ireland © MSP
Grand Canal Square designed by Martha Schwartz Partners in Dublin, Ireland © MSP
Grand Canal Square by Martha Schwartz Partners in Dublin, Ireland © Tim Crocker
Grand Canal Square by Martha Schwartz Partners in Dublin, Ireland © Tim Crocker
Aerial View / Grand Canal Square designed by Martha Schwartz Partners in Dublin, Ireland © MSP
Aerial View / Grand Canal Square designed by Martha Schwartz Partners in Dublin, Ireland © MSP
Aerial View / Grand Canal Square designed by Martha Schwartz Partners in Dublin, Ireland © MSP
Grand Canal Square designed by Martha Schwartz Partners in Dublin, Ireland © MSP
Grand Canal Square designed by Martha Schwartz Partners in Dublin, Ireland © MSP
Grand Canal Square designed by Martha Schwartz Partners in Dublin, Ireland © MSP
Grand Canal Square designed by Martha Schwartz Partners in Dublin, Ireland © MSP
Grand Canal Square designed by Martha Schwartz Partners in Dublin, Ireland © MSP
Lighting / Grand Canal Square designed by Martha Schwartz Partners in Dublin, Ireland © MSP
Lighting / Grand Canal Square designed by Martha Schwartz Partners in Dublin, Ireland © MSP
Lighting / Grand Canal Square designed by Martha Schwartz Partners in Dublin, Ireland © MSP
Grand Canal Square designed by Martha Schwartz Partners in Dublin, Ireland © MSP
Site Plan / Grand Canal Square designed by Martha Schwartz Partners in Dublin, Ireland
Landscape Plan / Grand Canal Square designed by Martha Schwartz Partners in Dublin, Ireland
Grand Canal Square designed by Martha Schwartz Partners in Dublin, Ireland
Grand Canal Square designed by Martha Schwartz Partners in Dublin, Ireland
Grand Canal Square designed by Martha Schwartz Partners in Dublin, Ireland
Grand Canal Square designed by Martha Schwartz Partners in Dublin, Ireland
Grand Canal Square designed by Martha Schwartz Partners in Dublin, Ireland
Grand Canal Square designed by Martha Schwartz Partners in Dublin, Ireland
Grand Canal Square designed by Martha Schwartz Partners in Dublin, Ireland

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Location

Venue
Grand Canal Square
Address
Misery Hill
City
Dublin
Country
Ireland
Longitude
-6.24
Latitude
53.34

Get There

The Grand Canal Square serves as the forecourt for the Bord Gàis Energy Theatre. Can be accessed on foot from the Grand Canal Quay, adjacent streets or by water. Closest transit stations are Pearse Street and Maldron Hotel.

Visitor Information

Visit 24/7, free of charge.

Map

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