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Insight > Exploration | 08 December 2022

Context-Driven Repositioning

Located in Dublin’s historic D4 district, Eaton House serves as the global headquarters for the Eaton Corporation. Its Georgian neighborhood has evolved into a rich tapestry of residential and commercial buildings. The site enjoys the historic context and charm of the neighborhood as well as close proximity to parks, retail shops, international businesses, and embassies.

Repositioned to be a building of its time while respectful of its historic context, the design reuses much of the original structural frame of the existing 1970s building, re-proportions the façade structure to reflect the original five terrace houses, and re-envisions the exterior enclosure in linear coursed stone, clear vision glass, and handmade cast glass brick.  Carefully considering the adjacent historic structures, the modern façade design is rooted in Georgian architectural proportion and consistent with Dublin City Council’s objective that new architecture be “contemporary both in substance and style, perform to highest environmental standards, and clearly reflect the spirit of our age”. 

Eaton House facade repositioning study for Georgian facade influence

A project design challenge was how to introduce more daylight while maintaining the proportional relationship to Georgian architecture. In researching potential solutions, the design team identified an intriguing building material: cast glass brick, which had historically been used in sidewalks as a way of bringing daylight into a basement, and in ship decks to bring daylight into the hull. 

Seeking meaningful opportunities to use this historic material in a modern way, the design team identified an application where cast glass brick was used as the primary façade material. This application was particularly interesting for it brought in daylight while having an ethereal transparency as well as introducing a unique texture to the façade. The introduction of cast glass brick to the sides of the windows resulted in a 38% increase in daylight area over the original building’s façade. With a high level of transparency, the cast glass brick creates a more open office environment and it’s dappling of sunlight adds visual interest to both the interior and exterior. 

Cast glass brick used to increase interior daylighting