An egg-shaped recording studio suspended from the top of a 600ft luxury apartment block was unveiled as part of the rock band U2's plans for a skyscraper that will dominate Dublin.
The "pod" studio will dangle beneath a battery of vertical wind turbines and a huge solar panel, hanging free from the innovative energy centre for acoustic reasons.
Details of the U2 Tower, which will be the tallest building in Ireland, emerged as it was announced that a consortium led by the band has been selected as the preferred bidder to design, finance and construct the Ł140 million project.
Bono, the Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen will team up with Lord Foster, who built the "Gherkin" tower in London.
The Geranger Ltd consortium consisting of Ballymore Properties, Patrick McKillen and August Partners (U2 members and management) beat off designs submitted by four other tenders: Treasury Holdings/Sisk; Mountbrook Homes, controlled by the developer Sean Dunne; the Dutch-based Royal BAM Group and the Riverside II Partnership.
All had been challenging for the contract to build the tower, regarded as the jewel in the crown of the band's property portfolio in Dublin.
In keeping with Bono's reputation as the rock star with a conscience, the accommodation will include 34 social and affordable flats. The remainder will be luxury apartments, while a five-star hotel will be built in an adjoining building.
The tilted triangular design, at the confluence of the Liffey, Dodder and Grand Canal, will include a public viewing platform.
The south face of the tower is to be clad in solar panels as part of its designers' commitment to renewable energy.
The bidding process has not been without controversy as the U2 design has been favoured over the winners of a 2003 competition sponsored by the band.
A design by local architects Burdon Craig Dunne Henry had originally been chosen for a 200ft twisting tower incorporating apartments and a recording studio.
It was later decided to increase the size of the building and bidders submitted new plans. Two of the five new designs under consideration, including the one created by the U2 consortium, dropped the competition-winning notion of a twisting block.
Paul Maloney, the chief Executive of the Dublin Docklands Development Authority, said all the entrants had been of an extremely high quality, but Geranger Ltd had been selected because it was a breathtaking design uniquely suited to the site.
"We are delighted to have achieved our ambition of realising an inspirational landmark design, while at the same time maximising public usage and access," he said.
"This design will be a very special building for Docklands and Dublin City while integrating the Britain Quay and U2 Tower buildings in a distinct and coherent fashion on the waterfront."
The U2/Lord Foster team has already come under fire for another project in Dublin.
Earlier this month their plans to revamp the U2-owned Clarence Hotel was described as the "biggest demolition of protected and historic structures" in the city in 10 years.
Work on the U2 Tower is expected to begin next year and it is hoped the building will be finished by 2011. Planning permission is not required as the development is already covered by the Grand Canal Docks regeneration scheme.
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