Stephenson, Sam (1933–2006) By O’Brien, Sorcha
Sam Stephenson was a controversial Irish architect whose work throughout the 1970s and 1980s sparked debates about brutalist architecture and planning regulations. His best-known works included large-scale developments for banks and civic and commercial offices in Dublin. The erection of these structures was often accompanied by protests about the destruction of existing architecture and archaeology. His headquarters for the Electricity Supply Board is a horizontal Miesian design, but is more notorious for causing the leveling of the central section of Dublin’s Georgian Mile. Only two of Stephenson’s four monumental towers for Dublin Corporation Civic Offices were built, due to the discovery of extensive Viking remains on the site and subsequent popular protests. The Central Bank of Ireland tower was unashamed in its use of unadorned structure, with concrete slabs suspended from twin central cores. The tower sparked controversy about planning height regulations in Dublin’s historical center.