U2 frontman Bono wants to spend a staggering $237.2 million turning the hotel he owns into a spectacular city resort.
Now the pair have hired award-winning architect Norman Foster to drawup plans for a spectacular overhaul of the 49-room hotel - with designswhich include a glass atrium in the shape of a Viking long boat.
At the heart of the project is a sculptural “sky catcher” whichembraces the main public spaces and pulls daylight deep into the baseof the hotel. It emerges at roof level and incorporates a ‘skyroom’ andviewing terrace, uniting and complementing the existing buildings.
Creating a new urban destination, the scheme will regenerate the livelystreet environment of Temple Bar. A publicly accessible ground floorincorporates restaurants, shops, cafés and bars facing both theriverfront on Wellington Quay and Essex Street East to the South.
The redevelopment of the hotel will incorporate a number of progressivesustainability strategies, including the maximisation of natural lightand ventilation, to ensure an energy efficient and environmentallysensitive mixed-use hotel, spa and conference facility. Only thequayside facades of the existing hotel and adjoining buildings - all ofwhich are protected structures - would be retained, although the oakpanelling from the Clarence's Octagon Bar is to be salvaged for re-use.
The plans have been passed by the city council but have been met withopposition from locals, who object to the partial demolition of severalhistoric local buildings.
U2 member The Edge has warned that the future of Dublin's Clarence Hotel may be in doubt if redevelopment plans are rejected.
A new design would see most of the hotel and five other buildings demolished with a huge glass atrium built over the new structure.
But An Bord Pleanála has begun hearing an appeal by heritage groups who say the redevelopment is inappropriate and affects six protected buildings.
Only the facades of these protected structures would be retained if the plan goes through.
It would mean the virtual demolition of the Clarence Hotel itself, an art deco building from the 1930s, as well as four Georgian buildings to the left and a Victorian building -- Dollard House.
The new design being sought by owners and U2 members Bono and the Edge say it is what is needed to secure the future of the Clarence.
But An Bord Pleanála is hearing a number of submissions against planning permission granted by Dublin City Council
Exceptional circumstances are required to demolish a protected structure and the Department of the Environment says simply having a design of outstanding merit does not qualify.
An Taisce points out the Liffey is a special conservation area and say this design would be more suited to the docklands.
But the design team says the ambition is to make the Clarence one of the top ten hotels in the world.