Dublin's Apollo House has been cleared for demolition

Hawkins House – widely known as the capital’s ‘ugliest building’ – will also be redeveloped.

By Gordon Deegan

THE GREEN LIGHT has been given for the demolition of both Apollo House and Hawkins House as part of a new €50 million development for Dublin city centre.

An Bord Pleanála granted permission for the redevelopment of the two buildings despite opposition from the managers of the nearby Cork Exchange apartment complex and developer Balark Investments, which owns the Screen Cinema and College House buildings.

Late last year, the focus on the homeless crisis centred on Apollo House after it was occupied by housing activists and the homeless in a ‘direct action’ move fronted by singer Glen Hansard and movie director Jim Sheridan.

The Nama-appointed receiver to Cuprum Properties, Mazars, has now secured planning permission to demolish and redevelop the 1960s office block. The building is to be replaced by an 11-storey office.

The Office of Public Works is the applicant for the redevelopment of the adjacent Hawkins House, which has long been regarded as one of the capital’s ugliest buildings.

2804366 Hawkins House
Source: William Murphy

The building, occupied by Department of Health officials, will be replaced with a new 10-storey complex.

The joint plan to build a new office ‘quarter’, along with shops, restaurants, a public plaza, and a new diagonal pedestrian street, will be one of the largest redevelopment projects in the city centre in recent times.

In giving the projects the go-ahead, An Bord Pleanála said that the Hawkins House location is one of three ‘key’ sites within the area to be converted into a new ’mid-town’ area of Dublin.

The appeals board said that the proposed developments would integrate satisfactorily with existing developments and the established character of the historic city centre.

It added that the proposed developments “would not seriously injure the amenities of residential development in the area by reason of overbearing impact, overlooking or overshadowing and would be acceptable in terms of public and private transport and pedestrian safety and convenience”.

2804305 A 2016 mock-up of the development


In their objection against the redevelopment of Apollo House, Corn Exchange residents stated that the new building by way of its size, scale and design does not represent a worthy replacement to the existing building.

Cuprum’s consultants, Brady Shipman Martin, reduced the height of the new block by one floor in response, while they also included an image to show the new building would be significantly smaller than the nearby Liberty Hall and Google’s Montevetro base.

The consultants told the city council that “the redevelopment of Apollo House represents a significant opportunity in the revitalisation of not only this city block, but a strategic positive contribution in the urban environment of the city centre”.

2804316 The proposed building on Hawkins St

In their opposition against the plan, Balark stated that the three key site locations of their own land bank, Hawkins House and Apollo House should be redeveloped together.

The objection said that the piecemeal approach to the redevelopment of the city block has resulted in a number of inefficiencies and challenges.

The objection stated that without the integrated approach for the three sites, “there is a strong possibility that the existing situation will be repeated with three individual buildings developed with connectivity or inter-relationship”.

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