Dublin Airport Pier D Environmental Graphics

Honor Award

Dublin Airport’s new 15,000-sm Pier D has 12 boarding gates and can accommodate up to 10 million passengers per year.

To create visual diversions for passengers, project architects Skidmore, Owings & Merrill also worked with the airport on an environmental graphics program featuring mural-sized portraits honoring Ireland’s literary giants. Fully integrated with the interior concept, the graphics help distinguish the gates while responding to the elongated circulation space with a design that seems to change when viewed from various distances.

Each image is composed of a literary quotation selected from one of the author’s most noted works. The design team created custom software to scale individual text characters based on the light and dark areas of the source image. As text shifts in size, becoming more and more legible, the design entices the visitors to read more and ultimately engages them with the region’s history.

A series of 1- by 3-meter laminated glass panels comprise each gate. Sandwiched between the glass is an interlayer with the color graphic digitally printed on clear film. The printing of the film was completed in the United States by DuPont and then sent to a glass laminator in Germany who was extremely careful in keeping the image aligned as it cross over the multiple panels. After significant testing, the glass panels were completed and finally shipped to Dublin for installation.

A particular challenge on the project was obtaining written approval from each writer’s estate for use of the excerpt, the quote, and the final photo selection.


Jury Comments: 

"Very visually compelling supergraphics and a keen eye for detail. It's great to see worthwhile thoughts being put up in public spaces."

"They've taken the heroic photographic image a step further by adding text and making the application appropriate to the environment. The textured effect of the layered glass is beautiful."

Design Firm: 

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP


Dublin Airport Authority

Location City: 

Dublin, Ireland

Project Area: 


Open Date: 


Project Budget: 


Photo Credits: 

Gerry O’Leary

Design Team: 

Lonny Israel; Brad Thomas, Alan Sinclair (graphic designers); Kent Jackson, Julia Skeete (architects); Normunds Krickis (technology specialist)


Laing O’Rourke (general contractor)


DuPont (SentryGlas Expressions interlayer film), Interpane (glass laminator)

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