Ian Ritchie Architects

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Spire of Dublin

The Spire of Dublin. Etching by Ian RitchieIn 1999 Ian Ritchie Architects won the international competition for a monument in the centre of Dublin. The monument was the flagship project of a wider improvement of the centre of Ireland’s capital city and replaced Nelson’s Pillar, destroyed by terrorists in 1966.

Creating a national monument involved many interested parties, and construction of what is the world’s tallest sculpture was delayed until 2000 because of legal challenges by two other competitors.

The Spire was inspired by the ever-changing light and composition of the Irish skies.

Ian Ritchie Architects’ practice demonstrates a fascination with light, and in particular the idea of the presence and absence of light, in the way light materialises and dematerialises matter and object, and the way light appears and disappears – its fugitive qualities.

The form continues the tradition of standing stones and obelisks. 120 metres high and 3 metres in diameter at the base, the tapering monument rises above O’Connell Street, breaking the roof line with as slender and elegant a movement as is technically possible. During the day its shot-peened surfaces softly reflect the sky and it sways gently in response to the wind. From dusk, the base is gently lit and the tip illuminated to provide a beacon in the night sky over Dublin.

The mirror polished pattern on the lowest 10 metres around the Spire’s base was derived from studies of the rock strata beneath the site, overlaid with the double helix of DNA.

The Spire slips through a cast-bronze disc flush with the surrounding paving without touching it, allowing the public to stand close and touch the Spire’s surface. The disc incorporates a logarithmic, varying depth spiral profile that follows the original theme of a spire: the past expanding through time into the future. As the base acquires a patina from the Irish climate and the golden polish of human contact, the historical role of bronze in the development of Irish art is carried into the future.

The Spire was completed in 2003 in celebration of Ireland’s confident future in the third millennium.

Books
1/2008 DUBLIN Frances Lincoln
ISBN: ISBN-10: 0711227454, ISBN-13: 978-0711227453
1/2007 EUROPEAN LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE: BEST PRACTICE IN DETAILING Routledge
ISBN: ISBN-13: 978-0415307376
1/2005 SKYSCRAPERS Laurence King Publishing
ISBN: ISBN: 1-85669-403-8
12/2004 The Spire | Túr Solais Categorical Books
ISBN: 1-904662-01-3
1/2000 THE CONSTRUCTION OF DUBLIN Gandon Editions, Ireland
Journal Articles
08/2005 THE STRUCTURAL ENGINEER
01/2005 L'ARCA
11/2004 ARCHITECTS' JOURNAL
05/2004 IRISH TIMES
02/2004 MODULO
01/2004 THE INDEPENDENT
01/2004 IRISH SUNDAY TIMES
1/2004 ARCHITECTURE 04. THE GUIDE TO THE RIBA AWARDS Merrell Publishers
08/2003 DAILY TELEGRAPH
05/2003 ARCHITECTS' JOURNAL
04/2003 IRISH ARTS REVIEW
03/2003 HQ
02/2003 THE SUNDAY TIMES
01/2003 THE SUNDAY INDEPENDENT
01/2003 THE SUN
01/2003 THE STAR
01/2003 THE EVENING HERALD
01/2003 IRISH TIMES
01/2003 IRISH TIMES
01/2003 IRISH INDEPENDENT
01/2003 IRISH INDEPENDENT
01/2003 IRISH EXAMINER
11/2002 IRISH SUNDAY TIMES
03/2001 WORLD ARCHITECTURE
01/2001 THE SUNDAY TIMES
01/2001 REGENERATION and RENEWAL
01/2001 LONDON EVENING STANDARD
06/2000 THE SUNDAY TIMES
12/1999 BUILDING
07/1999 IRISH TIMES
06/1999 FX
05/1999 THE INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY
05/1999 IRISH TIMES
05/1999 IRISH INDEPENDENT
05/1999 ARCHITECTS' JOURNAL
03/1999 IRISH TIMES
12/1998 IRISH TIMES
12/1998 IRISH INDEPENDENT
12/1998 ARCHITECTS' JOURNAL
11/1998 THE TIMES
11/1998 THE SUN
11/1998 THE STAR
11/1998 IRISH TIMES
11/1998 IRISH INDEPENDENT

Spire of Dublin

Dublin, Republic of Ireland

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