Scott Tallon Walker

Commissioners of Irish Lights Headquarters



2002 - 2008
Dun Laoghaire Harbour, Co. Dublin

Commissioners of Irish Lights
5,500 sq.m

Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland / Best Public Building - Highly Commended

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The Commissioners of Irish Lights (CIL) is the statutory agency responsible for operating and maintaining Aids to Navigation in coastal waters around the entire island of Ireland. The Commissioners sought an iconic new headquarter building which would unite their engineering and workshop facilities with head office, technical and administrative accommodation on a single site.

Our client sought a building of exceptional design quality which reflected their ethos of innovation and would be worthy of the spectacular waterfront site within the historic harbour of Dun Laoghaire, some 10km south of Dublin city.  

The functional requirements of the brief and a study of work processes resulted in a design solution comprising 5,100sqm of accommoation in two distinctive, but linked, building forms.

The highly glazed, circular office building is sheathed in a double-skin façade which maximises daylight and views while providing a thermal and acoustic buffer. A distinctive central lantern provides abundant natural light into the building’s core while subtly evoking the maritime beacons traditionally operated by CIL.

The rectilinear building to the rear accommodates workshops wherein highly advanced aids to navigation are commissioned, repaired and monitored around the clock.


CIL has pioneered the use of sustainable and renewable technologies in its navigational aids and desired that their new headquarters should harness similar features to minimise energy consumption.

Photovoltaic cells integrate with external solar shading, generating electricity to power fan-assisted natural ventilation. A seawater heat exchanger circulates cooled water through exposed concrete slabs, further moderating internal conditions.

The completed building reflects the ethos and aspirations of CIL while providing excellent facilities from which to fulfil their mission to keep Irish sea routes open, safe and running smoothly.

Building as machine. Kevin Donovan's article in Irish Arts Review sees the Commissioners of Irish Lights Headquarters in Dún Laoghaire as an instrument of communication and vigilance Extracted from the winter 2011 edition of the Irish Arts Review. The Irish Arts Review is Ireland’s leading art and design publication. Selected articles and further details are available on