The studio used by U2 in recording parts of The Joshua Tree, as well their first three albums, has been demolished. Windmill Lane Studios, famous amongst U2 fans and a frequent tourist destination for music fans visiting Dublin, resulting in a graffiti wall at the site in the Hanover Building that housed the studio. The wall will be preserved to honor the musical heritage of Windmill Lane, though it will be put into storage until a decision is made regarding what to do with it.
The building was purchased by Hibernia REIT, a property investment company.
“The studio itself has been empty for several years and contained no equipment or fittings to indicate its previous use,” the property developers said in a statement. “In February 2015, Hibernia commenced work on the site in a development that will form part of an exciting new urban quarter that will extend Dublin’s ‘Silicon Docks’ down to the Liffey. Hibernia is conscious of the historical significance of Windmill Lane and plans to retain a 20 meter stretch of the studio wall.”
The Hanover Building no longer actually houses the studio, which was moved to Ringsend.
“U2 had made the decision that they were going to base themselves in Ireland, and they insisted on recording their albums here also,” Niall Stokes, the editor of Hot Press, said to UTV Ireland. “Windmill Lane was not a studio that was brilliantly designed for rock and roll bands. Steve Lillywhite, a major producer who worked on those three albums, insisted that the drums had to be recorded in the reception area of the studio and they had to do the drums after the receptionist went home. Because U2 recorded there, it developed a reputation. It became known as one of the most important and successful studios in the world. The alchemy that happens when a great producer works with great musicians in a studio that really suits them – that is where those really special moments occur in music. There’s no doubt their years [at Windmill Lane] were absolutely crucial to U2. They forged their identity there and learned their trade. They were able to establish that U2 were masters of their own destiny.”
“We’re going to retain the façade and the history of the place,” Kevin Nowlan, the CEO of WK Nolan REIT Management, said. “The history of Windmill Lane actually goes back before the studio. There used to be a windmill here which we discovered and will incorporate in our design. We are very conscious of the history. We will do a tasteful job.”
The new development, which will be built in 2017, will include residential, retail, and office units.
In addition to U2, Sinead O’Connor and Van Morrison, among other musicians, have also recorded at Windmill Lane Studios.
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