Grand Canal Place, Dublin

Client:   Walls Construction

Contractor:   Marlet Property Group

Architect:   Burke-Kennedy Doyle Architects

Location:   Dublin, Ireland

Balconies:   301

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 “It’s been a good experience working with Sapphire.”

Project Director, Walls Construction


The Grand Canal connects Dublin with the River Shannon in the West, originally used as a means of both improving water supply to the city and providing industry across Ireland. The Dublin section of the Grand Canal has a storied history, now added to by Walls Construction’s development of Grand Canal Harbour.

Built right beside the Guinness Storehouse, Grand Canal Harbour has been developed at the original terminus of the eponymous canal. Potentially the most ambitious addition so far to the redevelopment of Dublin 8, Grand Canal Harbour is a wonderful new addition, adding 596 apartments and over 300 balconies to the ever-expanding Dublin skyline.

How Sapphire Made It Simple

Grand Canal Harbour was a great example of Sapphire’s ability to streamline the carbon reduction process.

Sapphire’s Nick Haughton spoke on the carbon panel at Resibuild’s Guinness Storehouse event (Dublin, 2022) about Grand Canal Harbour as it was being installed just next door.

“There are simple gains [in reducing embodied carbon], practical steps, [such as choosing] to use inset balconies. If a concrete one was used, it would have needed three sides thermally broken, even though it reduces the number of penetrations needed. That’s the kind of thing we’ve got to look at – the embodied carbon and what’s in the superstructure, to reduce the embodied carbon of a project overall.”

Inset aluminium balconies, compared to a concrete alternative, require only a very small part of the product to be thermally broken, in turn reducing costs, labour and time on site. This ensured that Grand Canal Harbour’s embodied carbon was lowered over the full project timeline, keeping the project as sustainable as possible.

In most inset balcony scenarios, balconies need isolating on three sides. However, Sapphire’s inset Glide-On™ balconies used on Grand Canal Harbour only required thermal isolation at the point the connections penetrate the façade thanks to intelligent early design.

Due to the programme being dependant on many trades working on balconies getting sequencing right, the knock on effects one trade can have makes an installation programme very vulnerable to delays. With the inset Glide-On™ balconies used at Grand Canal Harbour, soffits were fitted during production in a fraction of the time it would have taken to fit them on-site.

Thanks to early engagement, critical analysis of the carbon reduction needed on the development and innovative use of aluminium balconies, Sapphire were able to streamline the carbon reduction process through the use of inset balconies, minimising the carbon impact of the development, all the while retaining the aesthetic continuity of the façade via brick slip fascia banding.

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