Libeskind takes centre stage in Dublin

Monday 15 Mar 2010

$75m USD theatre complex opens this week

The Grand Canal Square Theatre in Dublin is classic Daniel Libeskind: brave, full of life, dramatic lines and striking colour. It will no doubt immediately become a major landmark in the Irish capital. The 2,000- seat performance venue is the core of a wider, mixed-use complex comprising a pair of eight-floor commercial blocks, five-star hotel and residential block.

Libeskind describes his aim for the project, “To create a truly vibrant 24/7 community, commercial, retail, residential and cultural components must communicate in a fluid and transparent dialogue. For the Grand Canal project, I wanted to integrate the commercial buildings with the adjacent retail, residential and cultural components and with the public space by designing multi-storey glazed atria. Although both offices are designed in the same architectural language, each responds to the site in its own unique way. Two Grand Canal Square, which is adjacent to the new 2,000-seat theatre, opens up towards the Square, while 4 and 5 Grand Canal Square, in conjunction with the theatre, form a dramatic gateway to Grand Canal Harbour.”

Dublin, like the many contemporary performing spaces that go before it, is oriented around the water’s edge. Sydney undoubtedly started the trend but more recently, we have seen Snohetta’s Oslo opera house, HLT’s Copenhagen Opera house, Calatrava’s Tenerife Opera house, Foster’s Sage at Gateshead and Herzog De Meuron’s Elbe Philharmonic hall in Hamburg. Libeskind has unashamedly embraced the waterfront added more than a touch of drama with his iconic 'red carpet' leading from the entrance to the water’s edge.

Talking about the theatre itself, Libeskind expands, “The architectural concept of the theatre is based on stages: the stage of the theatre itself, the stage of the piazza, and the stage of the multiple-level theatre lobby above the piazza. The theatre becomes the main façade of a large public piazza that has a five-star hotel and residences on one side and an office building on the other.”

The developers, Chartered Land are clearly expecting the complex to attract a huge number of visitors and it will be supported by a full array of integrated transport links including a new four-lane bridge currently under construction.


Most of the performing venues mentioned above, including the Dublin Grand Canal Square Theatre are featured in Performing Architecture, see below:

Michael Hammond

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Urban design

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