When a Silicon Valley IT company decided to establish a new Dublin HQ, BSLA were engaged to propose landscape solutions for the project. Constructed a decade before, the empty office building had narrow terraces throughout the floors, but the clear potential lay with the 900m2 open roof area on the 7th floor, next to the proposed new canteen.

Folding Pavilion

The key obstacle to overcome was the access to this space was through the building’s M&E area. We turned this difficulty to advantage by proposing a folding pavilion structure, which both deliver the staff out into the new multi-use roof garden, while simultaneously hiding the machinery behind it. The existing solid doors were replaced by glass so that the garden would be visible from the canteen area. The pavilion then modulates between the small shaded entrance door, passing under the ducting and opening out into a bright glazed and mirrored corridor with views towards the skyline. A sheltered lounge space extends the seasonal use of the garden by shielding colder winds, while turning towards the views of the neighbouring church tower and the mountains beyond. An open pergola defines a long 6m span timber dining table, facing south with views over the city centre. The rear of the pavilion is lined with perimeter planters casting silhouettes on the satin glass, creating the sense of being amongst a landscape, rather than being adjacent to an M&E zone.

Topographic Setting

We wanted to achieve the impression of planting in a natural ground setting, rather than planter boxes placed on a rooftop. We chose to continue this folding geometry to create perimeter planters along 3 sides, with sufficient soil depth for the trees and shrubs to establish well over the medium term. The northern edge is made by the south facing sloped decking for sitting in the sun. Planted ‘Islands’ float out from this edge, creating seating nooks and a visual layering seeking to be explored.

Role of the entrant in the project: Lead Designer
Location: Dublin, Ireland
Year completed: April 2017
Area: 750m2
Photographers: Derek Naughton, Colin Torpay, Periklis Tsoukalas
Other firms involved: OCSC (Structural); Arup (Lighting); MCA (Building Code); Aecom (QS); StructureTone (Main Contractor); Woodmarq (Pavilion Construction); O’BrienLandscaping (Landscape Installation); Lafferty (Project Managers)


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