The Spire

  • Location: O'Connell Street
  • Architect: Ian Ritchie Architects
  • Completed: 2004

” .... this is a brave and uncompromising beacon, re-affirming the status of O’Connell Street as Ireland’s principal urban thoroughfare…It will in effect reinvent the cultural dimension of the urban space of O’Connell Street.”

Ian Ritchie Architects, London were the winners of the O’Connell Street Monument competition. The competition was organised for Dublin City Council by The Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland. The winning design was chosen from an original international field of 205 entries. The majority of the entries were from Ireland but were also received from Europe, America and even Iran.

The new monument is a pivotal element of O’Connell Street Integrated Area Plan and has become a symbol of Dublin in the 21st Century. The new monument is located on O’Connell Street at the junction with Henry Street and North Earl Street in the position formerly occupied by Nelson’s Pillar. The new monument comprises a conical spire of rolled stainless steel plate which tapers from 3 metres in diameter at the base to a 0.1 metre pointed pinnacle at a height of 120 metres. The top 12 metres of the structure is illuminated and the top 500 mm of the structure is made of conically cast optical glass.

The structure is founded on reinforced concrete piles.  A 7-metre diameter circular base of bronze will be laid at the base of the monument that will be flush with the surrounding paved area. There is an underground access and maintenance chamber to accommodate electrical supplies and drainage equipment.

Design and Technical Summary:

During daylight, the light of Ireland’s sky over Dublin, the streetscape and its people is softly reflected in the stainless steel surface of the cone monument. From its base up to  4m, the stainless steel is polished in an abstract design to provide a slightly higher reflective surface than the remainder of the cone. From dusk, the lower two thirds of the monument’s stainless steel surface are softly lit. The tip of the monument is also  illuminated.

Height and Elegance
The stainless steel cone is 120 metres high from ground level and 3 metres in diameter at its base.

Reflecting the Climate
The upper part of the monument gently sways in direct response to the wind reflecting the character of its climate, landscape and people. The monument’s tip sways up to a maximum of 2.5m under 30 year return extreme wind loading.

The Monument
The Light Monument is a cone 120 metres high made of rolled stainless steel sheet. The stainless steel is shot peened to give a surface that will reflect, softly, the changing light of the sky, and be maintenance free.

Posted by Reflecting City Team on Wednesday, December 17, 2008
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