Daintree Building Cited in Top 5 Green Projects

19 October 2013

Gemma Tipton writing in The Irish Times Property section discusses the rise of green design as evidenced by a new volume from esteemed publisher  Taschen and cites Solearths Daintree Building (completed in 2005)  is being one of Irelands  greenest buildings.


Eco-friendly construction projects are no longer the preserve of the super-rich or the sandals-and-beansprouts brigad.

Dream a little

Looking at these projects is a little like reading a library of future predictions. Some, including Dennis Dollens’ Tree Tower, planned for Los Angeles, seem particularly outlandish. But who knows, perhaps “digital biometric architecture” (building from digital printing, based on the structure and design of plants) may one day become so normal we barely notice it?

We all know, or at least we ought to know by now, that one of the easiest, least expensive, and greenest things you can do to your home, or new build, is to add a layer of insulation; but the buildings and ideas in these books take things a huge leap further. You may not go so far as putting a vertical garden on your gable wall, such as Patrick Blanc’s at the Caixaforum in Madrid; or constructing an entire museum from shipping containers and paper tubes: see Shigeru Ban’s marvellous Papertainer Museum at the Seoul Olympic Park.

And you may not have the money to build an ethereally delicate house of glass and wood, such as Kengo Kuma’s in Connecticut, but at the very least, the work of architects such as these, and the bravery of the clients who support them, should allow you to dream a little greener.

Ireland’s eco-buildings

While Ireland doesn’t feature in Taschen’s lavish “green” books, we do have some green buildings to be proud of.

  • The Green Building Murray O’Laoire’s 1995 ground-breaking building for the Temple Bar Cultural Quarter housed a series of experiments in new sustainable technologies. Some were more successful than others.
  • The Daintree Building Solearth’s 2005 mixed-use development off Camden Street in Dublin not only houses the delicious Cake Café, but also uses materials including bamboo and sheep’s wool, recycles rainwater, and has both geothermal and solar systems.
  • Cliffs of Moher Visitors’ Centre This green building deserves greater fame. Years in the planning, but completed in 2007, Reddy O’Riordan Staehli’s building at the iconic Co Clare site generously disappears into the landscape, and includes solar, geothermal, water recycling and energy monitoring.
  • Elm Park Proving that green credentials won’t necessarily get you out of an economic hole, Bucholz McEvoy won awards for their 2008 “low energy green urban quarter”, but Elm Park in south Dublin soon went into Nama along with other Bernard McNamara developments.
  • Dominic Stevens’ House Philosophically as well as practically green; in 2011, architect Dominic Stevens completed a house that can be designed and built for just €25,000.

Stevens says that sharing the plans for the house for free is his way of “paying back a social debt”. Download the plans at irishvernacular.com

Green Architecture Now! Vol 1 by Philip Jodido, Taschen, €9.99.
100 Contemporary Green Buildings by Philip Jodido, Taschen, €39.99