The new Bord Gaís Networks Center in Ireland’s capital of Dublin presents a visual interaction between two elements: the building and its surrounding landscape. The site is located on a triangular property in the northeast of Dublin close to a motorway, which borders the site in the North. In response to the wedged conditions of this particular urban infrastructure, Topotek 1’s design strategy seeks to merge and dramatize the interaction between these opposing elements. A series of green roofs serves to disguise and blend the building into its surroundings. Geometric rooftop plants emulate the agricultural landscape with its pastiche of vibrant greens and distinct forms.
A verdant palette of grass and shrubs comprising different species of various textures and heights generates a striking landscape with sharp diagonals and triangular forms. The resulting graphic pattern can be perceived as a two-dimensional insignia for the adjacent, tall building or as a three-dimensional experience as seen from the boardwalk. The vegetation, which changes with the seasons, enlivens the geometric landscape with animated motion.
In contrast to the pristine roofs, six courtyards inside the body of the building manifest as surprising, grotesque openings in the built volume. As if from a different world, these courtyards are covered with dotted surfaces in different, striking pop pastel shades. As opposed to the sleek and angular green rooftop plants, they represent a contemporary collection of styles that references English landscape garden eclecticism. From the Center’s rooftop park, each courtyard can be seen as a unique folly in the landscape.
By playing with the contrasting interrelationships between landscape and architecture, the design of Bord Gaís Networks Center created an interactive dialogue which succeeds at merging the two components at times.