Candidate – Ireland
Submission by: MDO Architects
Project name: OPUS Building
The Opus Building is a maritime inspired residential development that provides a wide range of high-end quality apartments. Takin in its entirety, the scheme represents a positive vision for city-centre living, where demands for urban housing are met through an architecture that responds proactively to its context. In contrast to its rectangular, restrained neighbours, the Opus Building strikes an active tone throughout, be it through its curvilinear expression, transparency to the street, or generous, green residential amenities. Generous landscaped roof gardens and communal areas on top of the building provide residents with a beautiful oasis of calm whilst enjoying stunning views. Set around a European style landscaped courtyard, Opus breaks the stereotype of urban living being an exemplary addition to the neighbourhood.
The Opus Building was designed having the highest regard for Universal Access and design principles supporting Access for All. The building’s four blocks are arranged around a communal central landscaped courtyard, which provides level access to each core. The central courtyard features a soft play space for children and the communal rooftop spaces provide stunning views of Dublin bay and the Wicklow & Dublin mountains, meaning that the amenities provided serve a wide and diverse potential user group. The residential facility is further supported by the restaurant and café on the ground floor, which ensure that the building itself caters to the needs of the wider community.
Generous landscaped roof gardens and communal areas on top of the building provide residents with a beautiful oasis of calm whilst enjoying stunning views. Set around a European style landscaped courtyard, Opus breaks the stereotype of urban living being an exemplary addition to the neighbourhood. Biodiversity was respected through thoughtful selection of various planting with over 20 species of grasses, shrubs and small trees in courtyard and roof gardens. Plants such as lavender, rosemary or hibiscus were planted with an aim to attract birds, pollinators, and insects that are an important link in ecosystems and are essential for biodiversity.
Critical in the development of the design was the establishment of certain performance criteria. The aspiration was for a highly glazed building that could perform at the highest standards possible. Key decisions included the utilisation of heat recovery systems, adequate provision for manual purge ventilation, energy efficient underfloor heating, with each apartment having a central service room located with an integrated washer/dryer. Secure car and bicycle parking are provided in the basement, along with recycling and waste collection areas. Sustainable design was integral to the building design and all the apartments have an A3 rating or better
The people-focused design approach has also encompassed several environmental considerations.The concrete floors above ground level consist of post-tensioned slabs, which reduces the use of reinforced concrete by 20%. The design also facilitated significant off-site construction, such as prefabricated stair cores, pre-cast columns, and prefabricated production of the scheme’s signature black polished curved bands, all contributing to a more environmentally-conscious manufacturing process.
Wellbeing of visitors/users
Opus, 6 Hanover Quay is a landmark residential building that appeals to a wide range of users from single professionals through to families. The building design ensures that navigation is clear & easy for everyone from the post-man to the parent with a buggy to people with mobility devices. The range of amenities provided (including the ground floor restaurant and café) have all been cleverly thought through so that they are accessible and useful for all of our residents. The attention to user needs inherent in design is obvious in the day-to-day use of the building now.
Selection, origin and quality of the products and materials
The materials used were selected for their robustness and maintenance free qualities; hard wearing materials like reconstituted stone, PPC Aluminium Curtain Walling systems and brick ensure a longevity of use and durability. Additionally, the concrete floors above ground level consists of post-tensioned slabs, which allows for slabs over 20% less RC concrete to be utilised throughout, representing a significant reduction in the overall carbon footprint. The stair cores are a prefabricated twin wall system, the columns are pre-cast and the main staircases comprise semi-permanent formwork into which concrete is poured. Similarly, the decorative black polished curves bands are prefabricated off site. The use of these systems has allowed for an efficiency in terms of material use, time and quality control that would otherwise be difficult to achieve.
The overall design
The design of the Opus Building strategically blends private, communal, and public space. The scheme’s four blocks are arranged around a communal central courtyard, which distributes the residents to their apartment core via a striking concierge to the south-east corner. At street level, the own-door duplex apartments include railed private landscaped terraces to both soften the street frontage, and enhance the residential quality. Meanwhile, the roof level features two large, landscaped communal terraces for residents, one to the north-east overlooking the rejuvenated docks, and one to the south looking towards the Wicklow Mountains.
The impact on the environment
The building provides 120 apartment units on the former Kilsaran concrete site at Hanover Quay, turning a former industrial site into homes of an exceptional standard in the heart of the docklands. It addresses Grand Canal Basin on one side and has been designed to front onto Chocolate Park in the future. The building’s four blocks are arranged around a communal central landscaped courtyard, which ensures that all apartments have exceptional access to daylight. The units on the north and south wing are all through-aspect with the east block all enjoying either an easterly or westerly orientation. The design team remained heavily involved in the construction process, ensuring the environmental agenda was not overlooked during construction. Numerous benchmarks were undertaken to ensure the adequate detailing of the airtightness line at tricky interfaces. This was validated by testing, showing performances well in advance of the regulatory requirements and as low as 2.086m3/ hr/m2 in some apartments. This is just one example of the level of attention that was put on the measurable performance of the building upon completion.
Innovative value of the project
Taken in its entirety, the scheme represents a positive vision for city-centre living, where demands for urban housing are met through an architecture that responds proactively to its context. In contrast to its rectangular, restrained neighbours, the Opus Building strikes an active tone throughout, be it through its curvilinear expression, transparency to the street, or generous, green residential amenities. By combining this benchmark for urban living with attention to innovation and the environment, Opus offers an exemplary addition to a new Hanover Quay, and a new Dublin.