Point Village is a rapidly growing cultural hub for entertainment in the heart of the Irish capital. From live music to shopping and outdoor events, the neighbourhood has brought new vibrancy to the city’s Docklands. And in 2022, Shay Clearly Architects introduced a conspicuous new height peak to the area with the Exo Building — a high-rise office complex that also speaks to the Dublin riverside’s industrial character.

The 16,000-square-metre development — Ireland’s tallest commercial office complex — is named for its angular steel exoskeleton. In a nod to the surrounding urban landscape, the designers sought inspiration from the vivid blue gantries and cranes that dot the docklands, and are evoked across the building’s façade.

Embracing a pedestrian-oriented environment, the building has multiple ingresses that connect to its surroundings. The porosity of the narrow site is amplified by the trio of oval concrete volumes that form the structure’s base, dissolving the structure’s slim rectilinear footprint alongside the glazed entrances. Above, the 17-storey tower rises alongside a long eight-storey volume, which is topped by a generous roof terrace.

Situated between the port and city, the building acts as the “final piece of the jigsaw” in the formation of Point Village, says Clearly. The site links two very different urban contexts, facing the the East Link Bridge and the River Liffey with its shorter volume, and meeting a more bustling setting with the 17-storey form.

The blue steel structure is also a highlight across the interiors, with muted finishes and sleek floor-to-ceiling windows complementing the more dramatic angular forms while allowing natural light to flood the 2.9-metre-tall workspaces. Crucially, the exoskeleton also allows for a largely uninterrupted, column-free floor plates, making for highly adaptable and open work environments.

With the goal of providing a commercial space that would adapt with the ever-changing nature of both the neighbourhood and the 21st-century workplace writ large, sustainable design was also a priority. The architects integrated bicycle parking and showering facilities, and the building also boasts an A3 Energy Rating, as well as Platinum certifications from both LEED and Wired Score.

On the River Liffey, Shay Clearly Architects have designed a complex that engages the growing city, the riverside setting, and the dockside ballet of cranes.

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