Architecture

Sustainable timber tower to crown 19th century Dublin mill

Sustainable timber tower to cr...
Dock Mill is currently awaiting planning permission
Dock Mill is currently awaiting planning permission
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"Conceptually, the design for Dock Mill’s timber structure traces back to its material source: the tree," explains Urban Agency. "Sinking its roots into the existing structure of the mill, the new building expansion respectfully depends on this historical foundation, deriving from the silhouette of the mill’s triangular gable. From this point, the timber structure grows upward in a network of timber rafters that mimic tree branches, surrounding the trunk-like solid mass of the stair and elevator shaft"
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"Conceptually, the design for Dock Mill’s timber structure traces back to its material source: the tree," explains Urban Agency. "Sinking its roots into the existing structure of the mill, the new building expansion respectfully depends on this historical foundation, deriving from the silhouette of the mill’s triangular gable. From this point, the timber structure grows upward in a network of timber rafters that mimic tree branches, surrounding the trunk-like solid mass of the stair and elevator shaft"
Inside, Dock Mill will measure 2,000 sq m (roughly 21,000 sq ft), spread over 13 floors
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Inside, Dock Mill will measure 2,000 sq m (roughly 21,000 sq ft), spread over 13 floors
Most of Dock Mill's available floorspace will be given over to office space, but the uppermost two floors will host a double-height winter garden
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Most of Dock Mill's available floorspace will be given over to office space, but the uppermost two floors will host a double-height winter garden
Dock Mill's timber tower section will be built on top of an existing historic mill
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Dock Mill's timber tower section will be built on top of an existing historic mill
Dock Mill is currently awaiting planning permission
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Dock Mill is currently awaiting planning permission
View gallery - 5 images

Once derided as tinderbox deathtraps, advances in wooden construction techniques have enabled tall timber towers to grow in cities throughout the world. Urban Agency's Dock Mill proposal for Dublin is the latest to catch our attention and is slated for the roof of a 19th century industrial mill on the Irish capital's waterfront.

Assuming all goes ahead as planned, Dock Mill will consist of the original mill, which stands at 22 m (72 ft) in height, and the timber tower itself. This will be built on top of the mill's roof and will be constructed from prefabricated CLT (cross-laminated timber), extending the building upward a further 50 m (164 ft), or thereabouts.

To put this into perspective, the wooden tower structure alone would be taller than Australia's 25 King and just slightly under Canada's Brock Commons, which was recently the world's tallest timber tower, underlining the dizzying rate of change in this area of architecture. However, Norway's Mjøstårnet remains the current world's tallest all-timber tower at an impressive 85.4 m (280 ft).

The interior of the old mill will host residential apartments. The building is in a state of dilapidation, so Urban Agency will freshen things up and improve access with a new boardwalk. The tower's interior will be mostly given over to office space, with the exception of the uppermost two floors, which will host a winter garden. In addition to the use of sustainably-sourced timber, solar panels are mooted by the firm as a potential sustainability feature.

Inside, Dock Mill will measure 2,000 sq m (roughly 21,000 sq ft), spread over 13 floors
Inside, Dock Mill will measure 2,000 sq m (roughly 21,000 sq ft), spread over 13 floors

"The use of sustainably sourced timber presents a critical environmental advantage over other materials," explains Urban Agency, which is based in Dublin. "Its natural lightweight allows for ease of transportation, reducing the building's carbon footprint and enables off-site prefabrication for a less disruptive construction process in the dense urban fabric of the docklands. Moreover, its light and tensile qualities render timber the perfect solution for an innovative addition to the existing historical mill, exemplifying the potential to reuse and preserve our national architectural legacy and simultaneously meet the demand to create more space by extending upwards rather than out."

Dock Mill is currently awaiting planning permission and Urban Agency hopes to go forward with the project should all go well.

Source: Urban Agency

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