Just look at this. This monstrosity is going to be looming over the Dublin docklands in just a couple of years’ time, despite being totally out of keeping with the character of the area, commemorating four men’s egos in a way that should cause the late PB Shelley to rise from his grave and rewrite “Ozymandias”.
I refer of course to famed musicians, global messiahs and tax dodgers U2, who are now going into property development in a big way. The group are of course already drawing fire for their planned redevelopment of the Clarence Hotel, owned by Sir Bono and the Edge since 1996. However, the hotel has not been a money-spinner, and so, notwithstanding its being a listed building, Sir Bono has enlisted Lord Norman Foster to swank it up into a futuristic rock palace. In the way of these things, the futuristic rock palace will almost certainly be hilariously out of date long before it’s completed, but piffling considerations like that won’t stop the destruction of the area’s Georgian architecture.
But this is to be dwarfed by the modestly named U2 Tower, the mooted skyscraper down by the docks designed by Lord Norman Foster, which Sir Bono intends to be the tallest building in Ireland. Most of the building will be dedicated to apartments, and even with a projected price tag of a €1-1.5m for a two-bed apartment, there are probably enough mugs in Dublin to fill them. At the top, meanwhile, will be a bubble housing U2’s recording studio, so Sir Bono and the boys can survey their kingdom while working on their sounds.
The more I look at the sketches for the U2 Tower, the more I am convinced that this modern-day Tower of Babel is something the Dublin cityscape would be better off without. There is something about it that reminds me of the possessed skyscraper in Ghostbusters, or perhaps Sauron’s tower in Lord of the Rings. And this is supposed to be spearheading the redevelopment of the docklands? Why not just build a giant replica of Bono’s penis? It could hardly be less of an eyesore.