#SoftPort - A major project by Dublin Port to 'soften' its boundaries between the port's centre headquarters and the capital city to enable a greater public realm is underway.
The work is the largest physical intervention by Dublin Port in 35 years began in September and is expected to be completed in 2017. The development forms a committment of the port’s 'Masterplan' which incorporates phase one the Alexandra Basin Redvelopment (ABR) project.
The public realm project will significantly soften and enliven the Port’s boundaries with the City through high quality architectural and landscaping design. County Mayo based Wills Bros Civil Engineering are carrying out the project which won the contract in a competitive tendering process.
New pedestrian entrances off Alexandra Road and the East Wall Road will open out into a new public plaza north of Port Centre building near the 3Arena venue complex. At the entrance to the 1981 built building, a refurbished podium will feature a new sculptural sphere inspired by the spherical-shaped time ball that dropped daily on the top of the Ballast Office at O’Connell Bridge to signal Greenwich Mean Time to passing ships. From the podium, visitors will also be able to observe the Port’s operations from a safe distance, as intended by the original architects.
As previously reported on Afloat a new landmark featuring an historic ten-ton Stother & Pitt crane will form this future port-city public realm interface near the recently named Tom Clarke (former East-Link) toll-bridge. Crane 292 as it was known dates from 1968 and was in use at the port up until the late 1990s.The crane will be reassembled and illuminated and stand 35 metres high which is taller than the Port Centre.
James Kelleher, the Project Manager for Dublin Port Company, said: “This exciting new project has been designed with the purpose of opening up Port Centre to the City, using new public realm and maritime-inspired sculptural and architectural design to soften the boundaries between the Port and the City. Port-city integration is a major strategic objective for Dublin Port and at the heart of our growing programme of arts, industrial heritage, sports, community and educational initiatives.
The project builds on recent cultural, arts and industrial heritage initiatives by Dublin Port on the theme of port-city integration, including the reimagining of the Diving Bell on Sir John Rogerson’s Quay, the commissioning of new Irish music for Starboard Home and the launch of a visual arts programme Port Perspectives.