George's Quay

George's Quay

Postby Hugh Pearman » Sun Mar 07, 1999 3:42 pm

I feared this would turn out to be yet another big SOM office complex of the kind that could be anywhere in the world, and so it has proved. Just like London Docklands in the 1980s, where Canary Wharf was masterplanned by SOM - but the best buildings there are by others.


Yesterday I met the architect Nicholas Grimshaw in London. Grimshaw has Irish parentage, and was quietly regretting the fact that he'd never landed a job in Ireland. When I see the SOM proposals, I wish he'd been given a chance.
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Postby Charlie » Sun Mar 07, 1999 3:42 pm

What is so wrong with the proposal? Is it just its location?

I think it looks pretty impressive.

I think it would be far more interesting to see it built rather than letting the site be vacant for another 3 years until some opportunistic developer comes along a sticks an inane 5 or 6 storey yellow brick apt./office block there to placate those who view the current project as being far too big for peripheral, wee Dublin.
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Postby Hugh Pearman » Sun Mar 07, 1999 3:43 pm

Too big, too American, and in the wrong place. After all, modernism can have national distinctiveness - look at the work of Michael Scott.

Also, I've never seen anything wrong with leaving derelict sites derelict. Why does everyone always assume they should be built on as quickly as possible, with as much floorspace as possible? Only the developers gain from that.

True, you don't want to turn down a good original scheme in favour of an inane planner-friendly one. My view is that the present scheme is neither good nor original.

So I'd rather the site stayed empty until Dublin got a design better suited to its new wealth and confidence than what looks to me like a slice of downtown Chicago.
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Postby Charlie » Sun Mar 07, 1999 3:44 pm

I direct you to the end of an article on 29/12/98 "Ten appeals lodged against Dublin high-rise" By Frank McDonald, Environment Correspondent, Irish Times.

"...The city architect, Mr Jim Barrett, took the opposite view in his much briefer report, arguing that the scheme proposed by Skidmore Owings and Merrill had distinct advantages over an earlier office development planned for the site, because of its mix of uses.

His concern was that, if the high-rise scheme was rejected, the developers could still go ahead with the earlier plan, which was given a 10-year permission in 1990. It would consist solely of offices, in a cluster of seven blocks rising to a height of 60 metres..."

Having viewed that scheme in the then Dublin Corpo offices - I can assure you it was not pleasant on the eye.

I think this is further grounds for not throwng out the Cosgrave/SOM plan.
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Postby Jas » Sun Mar 07, 1999 3:44 pm

That is entirely possible.... however an concerted campaign against the SOM proposal is underway and I imagine if successful, will continue on against the older PP.
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Postby BTH » Fri Mar 12, 1999 5:41 pm

Could someone perhaps post a picture of the proposed scheme on this board, or tell me how I could get hold of one. Thanks
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Postby Paul Clerkin » Fri Mar 12, 1999 6:11 pm

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Postby BTH » Sat Mar 13, 1999 6:04 pm

Thanks for the picture. It really is much too big for the site although the design looks interesting, at least compared to the Kevin Roche scheme downriver. Much worse is the building currently facing the Custom House, that awful Ulster Bank building. It's a pity it can't be demolished as part of the new scheme.
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Postby JSmyth » Tue Mar 30, 1999 7:25 am

What's the latest status on this project?
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Postby CR » Thu Apr 01, 1999 12:22 am

BTH posted 03-13-99 05:04 PM GMT - In response to that message I wholeheartedly disagree with the author about "that awful Ulster Bank building" - I believe it is nothing of the sort.

In my opinion it is a visually pleasing and fresh design that, while not overly original [what modern is in Dublin?], at least befits the riverside site in an attractive and inoffensive way.

I suggest you turn your attention to the simply disgraceful trash currently been thrown-up around the St. Patricks Cathedral district. You only have to look at the similar apt. 'blocks' elsewhere from the early 90's to realise that most of these new buildings wont survive the first quarter of the next century without major renovation or better still, demolition.

As regards the Cosgrave/SOM development, I am still enammered of the design yet have misgivings about its proposed location, which seems to be the appealants [is that a word?!] main bone of contention as well.
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Postby CR » Thu Apr 01, 1999 12:26 am

CR : a.k.a. Charlie

Just in case I'm accused of deception by using a pseudonym!
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Postby owen » Sun Apr 04, 1999 4:09 pm

I'm with BTH on this one. The Ulster Bank building is pretty poor stuff. It's bland and has no sense of urbanity. The bizarre re-use of an actual Georgian portico at the corner of the site highlights its suburban clumpiness. It is unfortunate that, despite signs of corrosion at high level, it looks well enough built to last a long time.
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Postby Paul Clerkin » Mon Apr 05, 1999 10:54 am

It is pretty poor alright - the usual concrete structure with 1 inch of granite bolted on to comply with the corporation and the people's idea of good architecture. Surely the problem lies as much with the lack of education in and knowledge of architecture in the general public - the "sure it's much better looking than the old rubbish that was there" school of criticism.
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Postby Jas » Thu May 13, 1999 9:10 am

I see that the Ulster Bank is one of the opponents of the building who have made a submission to the Planning Board
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Postby MC » Wed Jun 09, 1999 5:11 pm

I'm just wondering exactly what the state of play is regarding this proposed development??? Is the planning permission still under discussion?
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Postby MG » Mon Aug 16, 1999 8:50 am

D-Day is approaching for George's Quay.... any bets on which way the decision will go?
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Postby MG » Tue Aug 17, 1999 9:16 am

Just remember that the project that already has planning permission on the site is awful - a bigger Ulster Bank building.... so fingers crossed
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Postby john whitw » Tue Aug 17, 1999 3:19 pm

Sorry MG,

Do you mean ANOTHER big Ulster Bank building? Added to the present one? That would explain their oposition.

You don't mean this do you?

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Postby Paul Clerkin » Tue Aug 17, 1999 3:34 pm

Actually I remember that vaguely - at the back of the Ulster Bank you can see the rods in the RC where the development has never been finished. There is PP for the remainder of the development - a cluster of towers with the central one similar in height to Liberty Hall and they're from the same school of design as the Ulster Bank as they're intended to be a cohesive ensemble......
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Postby Jas » Wed Aug 18, 1999 8:17 am

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Postby john white » Wed Aug 18, 1999 10:25 am

Ha ha.

'School Of Design'.

Yeah. when I was in School we had lego bricks too.

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Postby MG » Fri Oct 01, 1999 9:27 am

Going , going , gone!
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Postby john white » Fri Oct 01, 1999 10:12 am

Much as I was worried about the size of that design and about the final reality's faithfulness to the beatiful model - I'm quite sorry now that it's gone.

My disapointment is heightened by the prospect of the corpulent black heaps that may stand in it's place.

Woodquay? Compared these black behemoths it'll seem like a graceful, light and air-filled palace.

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Postby Paul Clerkin » Fri Oct 01, 1999 10:46 am

Personally, I actually liked the SOM development.... they were just rather unfortunate in that the site was lousy.
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Postby Hugh Pearman » Fri Oct 01, 1999 5:56 pm

Seven months after this exchange began, we have a result: sanity has prevailed. Maybe people don't want Dublin to be like everywhere else after all.

But of course SOM will now come back with a new plan. Could not Dublin's architects step forward with a good home-grown alternative, or are the days of professional co-operation now over?
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