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Esat Telecommunications Millennium Landmark

  • Architect:
    Hunt McGarry
  • Award Type:
    Regional Award 2001
  • Location: Dublin
Esat Telecommunications Millennium Landmark


Dublin (over £100,000)

A competition winning entry which turns a modern essential function into art. A significant contribution to the discussion of structure in the landscape. 

Clients comment
This Architectural symbol has become the flagship structure for Esat Digifone. It resulted from a Millennium Landmark competition which was launched last year to develop an innovative telecommunications structure for the year 2000 and beyond. The competition was supported by the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland and South Dublin County Council.

There were over thirty entries to the competition from Ireland, Europe and the USA. Commenting on the initiative, Barry Maloney, Chief Executive of Esat Digifone, said: We were delighted with the response to the competition and the very high standard of entries received. The arrival of the new Millennium is a world wide milestone and we are delighted to be playing our part with the Esat Digifone Millennium Landmark. We are confident it will be extremely popular with its design and structure and will add to the overall national celebrations as we enter the new century.

Architects Comments

The RIAI competition brief required the dual function of a fully operational telecommunications structure and that of a ‘millennium landmark’. Buckminister Fuller’s ideology of ‘more or less’ provides the fundamental tenet for this project. The inverted cone form is generated by the requirement for maximum volume at the top of the structure to house antennae and dishes and to provide a working platform. The cone is a 27m high stainless steel, stressed skin structure, comprising of 20 prefabricated, bolt together units. The 3m high precast concrete pod at the base acts as the ‘raft’ foundation and houses the plantroom. 

The stainless steel skin has over 1000 rows of perforations between the top and bottom of the structure, each row containing 133 circular perforations around its circumference. At the base the perforations are 4mm in diameter, at the top 45mm - the percentage of void a the base is 10% and at the top 50%. By directly reflecting the structural criteria of eliminating unnecessary material, the stressed skin effectively becomes a mesh of graduated, increasing transparency towards the top of the structure. 

Characteristically meshes appear solid or transparent depending upon whether they are front or backlit - the structure aims to exploit this characteristic by combining variations of natural and artificial lighting.

This architect led project was made possible by recent developments in computer modelling and computer controlled lazer cutting and associated technologies. These technologies will increasingly allow ‘mass produced’ buildings/furniture/objects to be individually modified ‘on the production line’ to specific criteria.