Cathedrals of Commerce

Cathedrals of Commerce

Postby garethace » Mon Dec 29, 2003 4:57 pm

It occurs to me that the fabric of Dublin city was invaded back in the 1960s by the global trend toward a world economy, and the expansion of Dublin as a city of international commerce, and business centres. These often ugly looking houses of commerce were viewed with discust by many at the time, and it was felt that Dublin needed to preserve its heritage - not lean over to just accomodate more and more glass and concrete boxes.

Now compare that to today, where the notion of commerce and global economics has made Dublin a much more strategic place to both live and work from. We have embraced the whole notion of business and a new age of prosperity. New buildings are no longer viewed with discust as ugly houses of commerce, but are rather seen as signs of economic prosperity and development. What I would like to know, is how that change did come about. How to the people who remember the initial wave of palaces of commerce feel about things nowadays.

There is an important time element in this kind of discussion. Were the angry youngsters back in the sixties merely rebelling against something for the sake of it - were they really as concerned as they thought they were - about the historic architecture of Dublin? Has the attitude of the younger people changed nowadays, where they see BIG EURO signs on anything gaudy and large, made of glass and steel? I think that this debate could include a wide variety of points of view and could make an interesting contrast - houses of commerce, in the 1960s versus the present in Ireland's cities.

Is there a strong architecture that can come from such a brief? Are some of the current attempts one sees around Ireland at the moment, just shallow attempts, which will age poorly? Have the large scale commercial structures dotted around the urban fabric contributed anything? It just strikes me in general that Dublin is very much driven in its development by commercial type of development - there is precious little mention about projects just for the city itself.

I also understand that the scale of this development is unprecedented for Dublin city's history. The building in the 1960s wasn't quite in the same league. I was just wondering if any people who lived through the last building effort would care to make any comments.
garethace
 
Posts: 1579
Joined: Wed May 14, 2003 9:01 pm
Location: Dublin, Ireland

Postby PVC King » Mon Dec 29, 2003 6:20 pm

The reference to Cathedrals of Commerce first surfaced in Short's Urban Reader in the early 1990's. It referred to buildings that were built to a specification that glorified their creators, i.e. cost was secondary to the impression of the buildings.

It probably could have been written in 1929 with the building of both the Chrystler Building and Empire State in New York.

The closest proposal to this I have seen for Dublin was Dermot Desmond's Eco-Sphere.

When is Dublin going to see a developer that is prepared to leave a genuine 'Landmark' Building?

Regardless of the short term costs. i.e. the sums done over 25+years vs 7-8 years?
PVC King
 

Postby garethace » Mon Dec 29, 2003 8:00 pm

Would I be very wrong in thinking, that during our first date with the destiny of globalisation - i.e. fabulous looking commercial palaces that could be anywhere in the world - that we did not find it so easy to swallow. Basically modern Architecture got a very bad rep.

But now we seem to have embraced this global architecture type of commercial style, rather like some old man clutching onto a blanket. I.e. The more cathedrals of commerce we can build, the less likely our prosperity is going to escape? I seems to be like a total U-turn to the 1960s reaction. Have we in fact changed that much in so short a space of time?

I mean, Archiseek board is one of the places that loves to just slate the 'Irish-ness' and sense of one's own identity, which people held so dear in the 1960s. But have we lost a large portion of our identity, and need to joke about it now, just to make ourselves feel better about it? Obviously Spain cannot go back to the days of Columbus, but in its architecture, spaces and cities nowadays, you still do get some sense of history, or of place.
garethace
 
Posts: 1579
Joined: Wed May 14, 2003 9:01 pm
Location: Dublin, Ireland

Postby PVC King » Mon Dec 29, 2003 8:06 pm

Not at all clutching a blanket,

More weighing up the architectural merits more. What gave commercial architecture a bad name was

Apollo House

O'Connell Bridge House

The IDA at Wilton Place

7-9 Sth Leinster St at a lower height

What might redeem it is a quality tall structure.

Georges Quay isn't bad of it's type but it is not a viable front runner such as an Eco-Spere or similar.

Something with a wow factor and more importantly a building a roof top restuarant so it can be accessed by the public
PVC King
 

Postby shaun » Mon Dec 29, 2003 8:48 pm

I would have thought that Dublin suffered very little (architecturally) from the commercial evolutions of the 60's and 70's.

Compared with cities of similar size in the UK or mainland Europe commercial developement in Dublin then was minimal.

Look at the roads network in Dublin even now,
anyone driving along the Rock road every morning into town still passes Count John MacCormack's house more than 100 years later. Not that much has changed.

Dublin is still a very intact Victorian city.
shaun
Member
 
Posts: 99
Joined: Mon Dec 29, 2003 8:30 pm
Location: Antwerp

Postby PVC King » Mon Dec 29, 2003 9:07 pm

Comparison with the Continent and most of the UK is what makes the destruction of particular streetscapes all the more tragic.

As with the overseas locations it was easy to blame the Second World War for the destruction. Excluding Paris and Edinburgh few other cities in Europe were as unscathed

Here it was CJ & co destroying anything that might have had any connection with pre 1921 origin.

What replaced the older buildings is the real disgrace. What modern architecture needs in this city are a few Landmark buildings of real quality.

The only really decent modern office building I can think of is Hardwicke House on Upper Hatch St. But it is again quite a low building.

Georges Quay is more of a contribution to the problem than the solution. I hope that the U2 tower works as well in practice as on paper.
PVC King
 

Postby garethace » Wed Dec 31, 2003 8:17 pm

As a jounalist who covers the middle east and lives in Beirut said, I wake up every morning and say to myself, which way is the wind going to blow today. Read about the place here:

LA Times, register is free
garethace
 
Posts: 1579
Joined: Wed May 14, 2003 9:01 pm
Location: Dublin, Ireland

Postby PVC King » Wed Dec 31, 2003 10:26 pm

Both Beruit and Belfast have been quiet for a while now.

Once the Monte Carlo of the East Med it suffered a few bad years before being rebuilt. The process was overseen by a guy from Killiney.


A cathedral to peace but not yet a Cathedral of Commerce.
PVC King
 

Postby garethace » Wed Dec 31, 2003 10:57 pm

Just playing around with something, probably influenced by the article! ;-0
Attachments
recent vis 04.jpg
recent vis 04.jpg (59.48 KiB) Viewed 3122 times
garethace
 
Posts: 1579
Joined: Wed May 14, 2003 9:01 pm
Location: Dublin, Ireland

Postby garethace » Sat Jan 03, 2004 5:21 pm

garethace
 
Posts: 1579
Joined: Wed May 14, 2003 9:01 pm
Location: Dublin, Ireland

Postby garethace » Sun Jan 04, 2004 5:52 pm

I have never even been to New York, but this thread I did find interesting;

Different kinds of cathedrals of commerce?

BTW, if you are on a 56k like me, it might take a bit for the images to load in.
garethace
 
Posts: 1579
Joined: Wed May 14, 2003 9:01 pm
Location: Dublin, Ireland

Postby PVC King » Sun Jan 04, 2004 9:54 pm

Not really what the general definition of cathedral of commerce refers to I think it was meant more to describe Corporate office Headquarters such as the Chrystler building in New York or the Deutche Bank towers in Frankfurt.

Symbols of Corporations having reached giant proportiones or speculative developments providing office space for overseas firms in major corporate centres.

The photo of Time Square in New York is a tragedy I would commit suicide or at least emmigrate if Dublin suffered a similar vista. What makes it even more tragic the Quality of the tapered building in the background, which looks stunning in 1920's B&W photo's
PVC King
 

Postby GregF » Mon Jan 05, 2004 10:49 am

What gave corporate architecture a bad name in the past here was the way the 'Cathedrals of Commerce' bombastically and wrongly intruded the old and historic parts of Dublin city......ie to mention the old regulars of the Bank on Baggot Street, the ESB on Fitzwilliam Street etc....etc...
Attitudes changed in the 80's here I suppose with the arrival of Post Modernism and an emerging respect of our past architecture ie, The pedestrianisation of Grafton Street and the like.... etc.
But this anti 60's 'Cathedrals of Commerce' hang up carries on today where new contemporary develpments face huge hurdles even on brownfield sites.
User avatar
GregF
Old Master
 
Posts: 1610
Joined: Tue Oct 31, 2000 1:00 am
Location: Dublin, Ireland

Postby PVC King » Mon Jan 05, 2004 11:27 am

I agree that bad commercial development was it's own worst enemy in Dublin. There is still a major problem of perception with many commercial developments.

But with the possible exception of the Carrolls Building or the badly sited Banks Of Ireland (Central and BOI) were any office buildings developed as Cathedrals of Commerce?

Or were too many corners cut to trim construction budgets?
PVC King
 

Postby garethace » Mon Jan 05, 2004 2:04 pm

OT,

Another young generation will have something to aspire to Good web site about space travel etc - what a way to start 2004.

On Commerce,

Here is an article about problems facing California with large consumer boxes dotting the place all over USA. 230,000 square feet is around 16,000 sq metres roughly I think. Anyone got a conversion? In America, the problem isn't so much to do with exploiting old historical areas, as Greg mentions, but in trying to make some order out of the low rise sprawl. One thing you can say about the Neon Chinesse city images, was how dense they actually are.
garethace
 
Posts: 1579
Joined: Wed May 14, 2003 9:01 pm
Location: Dublin, Ireland

Postby garethace » Mon Jan 05, 2004 3:24 pm

I am just wondering, does this thread stir up any thoughts about commercial building and geography, landscape, favourite places to live etc, etc, etc.

http://www.cyburbia.org/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=10089

Cardinal made some interesting observations about America geographically.
garethace
 
Posts: 1579
Joined: Wed May 14, 2003 9:01 pm
Location: Dublin, Ireland

Postby PVC King » Thu Jan 15, 2004 3:20 pm

I agree Brian well designed 'Cathedral of Commerce' spec buildings are the best defence against clusters of groundscrapers.
PVC King
 

Postby garethace » Thu Jan 15, 2004 5:50 pm

Link:

Just another one on the general street lighting theme

With all this new technology of high-speed Internet and more advanced phone services, there has been a proliferation of bigger and more frequent switching pedestals, and this new Trafalgar Pole has eliminated that clutter from the subdivisions where it is being applied.
garethace
 
Posts: 1579
Joined: Wed May 14, 2003 9:01 pm
Location: Dublin, Ireland

Postby PVC King » Fri Jan 16, 2004 1:21 pm

"I would love to see a refreshing change"

Quote of the Year
PVC King
 

Postby garethace » Fri Jan 16, 2004 11:03 pm

I will just link a couple of good images here;

http://www.totalwar.com/community/shogal/epkedit5.htm

Sort of the inspiration for something I am doing at the moment.
garethace
 
Posts: 1579
Joined: Wed May 14, 2003 9:01 pm
Location: Dublin, Ireland

Postby PVC King » Fri Jan 16, 2004 11:18 pm

Increadible images,

Is the format similar to age of empires or is it slower or faster?
PVC King
 

Postby PVC King » Fri Jan 16, 2004 11:24 pm

One must never forget the third skin, particularly when design involves multi-layered solutions.
PVC King
 

Postby garethace » Fri Jan 16, 2004 11:27 pm

AOE would be axonometric I think in architecture speak. I think, but that might have advanced with most recent editions. Whereas the total war formula is based upon landscape models the likes of which you might normally see in a Flight simulator game.

The little people are only 2D card board cut outs, and perform very limited repetitive 5 frame sequence actions like throw spears or riding horses etc. But there is so many of them on the screen at once, that things have to be made pretty simple.

Aside from that, each type of unit or brigade behaves a little differently, some get scared and run off quicker etc. There was a series on the BBC where they televised people re-enacting great battles - was great fun.

The LOTR battles for middle earth were created using a similar idea. The problem that they found using AI warriors in LOTRs was, that if the soldier or ORK couldn't find an opponent in the melee, he simply would just run off into the landscape and never return. But you don't notice it in the film.


Here are lots more images.

http://mysite.freeserve.com/lordkrazy/
http://www.totalwar.com/community/vikingsp1.htm
http://www.totalwar.org/mongol/screenshots.shtml

A couple of more ones I happen to love;

http://www.totalwar.org/mongol/images/screenshots/shogun_screen003.jpg
http://www.totalwar.org/mongol/images/screenshots/shogun_screen002.jpg
http://www.totalwar.org/mongol/images/screenshots/shogun_screen001.jpg
http://www.totalwar.org/mongol/images/screenshots/pczone_001.jpg
http://www.totalwar.org/mongol/images/screenshots/pczone_003.jpg
http://www.totalwar.org/mongol/images/screenshots/pczone_002.jpg
http://www.totalwar.org/mongol/images/screenshots/010116-fl-b2.jpg
http://www.totalwar.org/mongol/images/screenshots/010116-fl-b4.jpg
http://www.totalwar.org/mongol/images/screenshots/010116-fl-b7.jpg
http://www.totalwar.org/mongol/images/screenshots/Seaside.jpg
http://www.totalwar.com/community/vikingsp4.htm
http://www.totalwar.com/community/vikingsp5.htm
http://www.totalwar.com/community/vikingsp6.htm
http://www.totalwar.com/community/vikingsp8.htm
http://www.totalwar.com/community/vikingsp1.htm
http://www.totalwar.com/community/vikingsp2.htm
http://www.totalwar.org/screenshots.shtml
http://www.totalwar.org/screenshots_2.shtml

lots more.

http://www.totalwar.com/community/bat4.htm
http://www.totalwar.com/community/bat7.htm
http://www.totalwar.com/community/bat8.htm


A whole load of Rome ones here;

http://www.totalwar.com/community/rp4.htm

Couple of medieval ones here.

http://www.totalwar.org/medieval/screenshots.shtml

More Shogun

http://www.totalwar.com/community/shogal/epkedit4.htm

Battle scenes from Shogun.

http://www.totalwar.com/community/shogal/nbat01.htm
garethace
 
Posts: 1579
Joined: Wed May 14, 2003 9:01 pm
Location: Dublin, Ireland

Postby garethace » Thu Jan 22, 2004 3:25 pm

garethace
 
Posts: 1579
Joined: Wed May 14, 2003 9:01 pm
Location: Dublin, Ireland

Postby PVC King » Thu Jan 22, 2004 3:33 pm

That is a fantastic Skyline,

The Chinese have really taken to prestige architecture in recent years, I suppose to put one over on their Hong Kong dominion.

The Maglev train system is interesting too, 30kms, 267mph for $1.2bn. That is real strategic investment.

The Chinese are a scary bunch 7.9% growth last year in the year of a SARS epidemic that shut most of Asia for three months. It can't all be based on cheap labour.

Shanghai really is the Skyline to watch over the next few years.
PVC King
 

Next

Return to Ireland