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Z-loft /

Third Award in design competition by FAKRO / A10

20+10+X World Architecture Community Award 14th Cycle


status / international design competition 2012

conceptual design

Located in Grand Canal Dock in Dublin, Ireland, old industrial mill known as Boland's Flour Mill has been given a new lease of life by creating a zigzag form lofts on its façade. Individual z-shape boxes are cantilevered over the water and arranged in a ribbon like sculpture which contain spacious apartments with stunning views over the area. Apartments are connected to the workshop and exhibition spaces in the existing building.

Project was awarded in the international design competition for a new vision of the loft. The 3rd edition of the competition was organized by one of the world’s leading roof window manufacturers FAKRO in cooperation with the international magazine for architects A10.

view across the Grand Canal Dock

view across the Grand Canal Dock

This conceptual design highlights the neglected site flanking one of the most popular open public spaces in Ireland. The industrial concrete block and associated buildings for long has been enrolled into silhouette of the area but the development plan for the site has never been established as a consistent for whole. Deprived of care buildings deteriorate which makes refurbishment more difficult year after year.

So what we should do with it? Leave as a legacy for future generations to cope with it, demolish it or perhaps be more creative and work out the redevelopment plan? International examples like The Zollverein World Heritage Site also known as “the world’s most beautiful coal mine” shows that post-industrial monuments could be a treasure worth protecting. Preservation through new usage offers a huge range of opportunities which attract many businesses and could be a real incubator of creativity.

Let’s bring to life this forgotten for years industrial mill and create a work and exhibition spaces for creative artists. Let’s create lofts which could be connected to workshops and exhibition spaces in the existing building.

Boland's Flour Mill at Grand Canal Dock

view from the bridge at Boland's Flour Mill

A unique “z” shape allows for a better lighting, ventilation and interesting two-level space apartments with sustainability features like solar panels located on slopes of the shape, passive heating and cooling system and green terraces with small gardens and ivy planting. Planting could create interesting green façade and be a further metaphor of combining the three elements of nature, art and industry.


The duplex character of apartments provides zoning for night and day living space. Front elevation accommodates truss structures thus do not contain glass openings. The remaining end elevations are glazed using standard panes and Fakro windows on slopes of the shape. To provide a rich natural color and contrast with the existing plain concrete elevation Cor-Ten steel is used as outer skin.

z-loft section

Proposed lofts could inspire to re-use other derelict industrial buildings and transform them into a vibrant city sculptures.

z-module

Z-module