Alto Vetro

  • Location: Grand Canal Dock
  • Architect: Shay Cleary Architects
  • Completed: 2006

Alto Vetro is a 16-storey residential tower at a key location in Dublin on the corner of Pearse Street and Grand Canal Quay. The site, previously occupied by a 2-storey domestic building, is directly adjacent to the bridge over the Grand Canal dock and the Waterways visitor centre. It is on the edge of the area under the control of the Dublin Docklands Development Authority (DDDA).

The site is ideally suited to a building of this nature for the following reasons:

The site is at the end of a stretch of buildings currently enclosing the inner dock, starting at Grand Canal Street and stopping at the end of the Malt House. The proposed tower would form a significant end to this pre-existing urban pattern.

The existing buildings around the inner dock form a dramatic edge to the water; the special and unique character that this generates has been noted in the DDDA master plan. The proposed residential tower further re-enforces this character.

Alto Vetro forms a visual terminator to the axis set up as part of the new DDDA master plan, which starts at the river, runs along Forbes Street, through the 'event space' and along the open area in front of the outer dock.

The project is an elegant urban marker at the centre of the new south docks district.

The design has been realised as a pristine glass building with a stone band exposing the slabs at each level. The external expression of the building is considered to allow the tower to read as a singular element in the city.

A series of external sliding stainless steel screens provide sun shading to the residential units and a second layer of screens internally allow for privacy at key locations in the apartments. The combination of crisp glass detailing and the screens achieves a complex and sophisticated layering to the façade, which would move and change throughout the day. Overall, the building has a neutral and contemporary aesthetic.

The lower levels comprise two apartments per floor, arranged around a single core, while the uppermost levels have two duplex apartments. Each apartment has private outdoor space in the form of cantilevered balconies. The roof space is given over to a garden, protected by a 2-metre high glass balustrade, as well as a private gymnasium, both for use by residents.

At ground floor level, the building is set back on all sides. On the side facing the road, this creates a new public pavement, where there is none at present. The ground floor accommodates a generous entrance space to the apartments, fully glazed to give views through to the water. At this level are also storage and meter rooms. A fully glazed commercial/retail unit will encourage a more intensive inhabitation of the open campshire area to the south. The project was completed in 2006.

Posted by Reflecting City Team on Friday, December 19, 2008
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