The impact of the Car on Irish Architecture

Postby FIN » Mon Feb 23, 2004 6:10 pm

yeah! gas works well.
i would be a subscriber for electricity still.
and a billion. jeez didn't think it would be that much.
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Postby dc3 » Mon Feb 23, 2004 10:37 pm

"electric buses "

Electric vehicles are usually less energy efficient than diesel and just because the emissions dont happen in the tailpipe does not mean they do not exist at the power station. Ireland has a relatively dirty electricity generating mix. A billion windfarms, on sliding bogs, are still to come.


Despite claims to the contrary, I do not know of any comparable city to Dublin, with the same sprawl, that has managed the car.

PS Bergen is not comparable to Dublin

PPS Waited 30 minutes for the bus to work this morning, should have been three in that time.
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Postby PVC King » Mon Feb 23, 2004 11:10 pm

Originally posted by dc3
"electric buses "

. Ireland has a relatively dirty electricity generating mix.


The cost of converting Moneypoint to a Gas fired turbine system was put at as high as 800m by an industry insider.

I don't know the exact figure of Moneypoint's emmision percentage of CO2 gases but I think it was approximately 30% of the national total.

Moneydrainpoint would be pretty apt name if these figures are bourne out.

Between Moneypoint and the Carlow commuter group there is a lot that needs to be changed.

The next time you Harney whinging about 'single mothers' ask yourself how much are you paying in taxes for servicing one off houses and how much in un-necessary carbon taxes?

We have a lot to learn from places like Denmark and Holland. :)
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Postby FIN » Tue Feb 24, 2004 1:26 pm

gas electricity generating power stations produce bugger all emissions. i know ..am doing one at the moment.
but ok we don't like electricity well what about hydrogen?

anyway back to the architecture. the car is certainly shaping the spread of these horrible, horrible housing estates. more and more people wanting this utopia of a house in the country and then moving into an estate in a small town to achieve something of this. how i don't know but i'm not going to judge what average joe punter likes.

it is easier to travel( with the car but not the resultant traffic jams) so at the moment there is no real need for higher densities and therefore our backward looking people are stating that there is no need for it and would ruin the look of our "beautiful" low rise inner cities.

the new cities across the lake at welwyn amongst others i believe tried to cater for the advent of the car. but they tried to keep the cars out of the centre and have lots and lots of open space. i am interested to know if this is a general view held by all and is it sucessful to a degree. i know it's not particularly good now as they didn't think in the 50-100 years bracket where nearly everybody has a car.

the question i suppose i am angling towards is do we need a modern interpretation for this type of city and with the advent of a seemingly new space race will more technology reach us where if we do design a new welwyn will it be out of date in 50 years.
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Postby FIN » Tue Feb 24, 2004 1:27 pm

hmmm! quite long and a bit all over the place but i hope u get my meaning
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Postby PVC King » Tue Feb 24, 2004 1:39 pm

Originally posted by FIN
gas electricity generating power stations produce bugger all emissions. i know ..am doing one at the moment.
but ok we don't like electricity well what about hydrogen?


You've got to balance cost and return (reduced emmissions) gas does this very well and there could be that Las Vegas on the moon before Hydrogen is commercially viable.

Originally posted by FIN
it is easier to travel( with the car but not the resultant traffic jams) so at the moment there is no real need for higher densities and therefore our backward looking people are stating that there is no need for it and would ruin the look of our "beautiful" low rise inner cities.


What is being built now is higher than before, it will get taller as each tall building is found not to be a problem. Negative I know, but I can't help feeling that Dublin would now have taller buildings if mistakes such as Hawkins House were'nt built so early on.


Originally posted by FIN
the new cities across the lake at welwyn amongst others i believe tried to cater for the advent of the car. but they tried to keep the cars out of the centre and have lots and lots of open space. i am interested to know if this is a general view held by all and is it sucessful to a degree. i know it's not particularly good now as they didn't think in the 50-100 years bracket where nearly everybody has a car.


The City centre is the key.

Originally posted by FIN
the question i suppose i am angling towards is do we need a modern interpretation for this type of city and with the advent of a seemingly new space race will more technology reach us where if we do design a new welwyn will it be out of date in 50 years.


All cities that stand still become obselete, cities are a bit like the broader economy they must constantly restructure to progress. But a bit like sensible economics choices must be carefully weighed up. :)
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Postby Rory W » Tue Feb 24, 2004 4:44 pm

more and more people wanting this utopia of a house in the country and then moving into an estate in a small town to achieve something of this.


I think its more the fact that housing is grotesquely overpriced in Dublin rather than actually wanting to live in one of the car friendly suburbs
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Postby PVC King » Tue Feb 24, 2004 10:52 pm

Originally posted by Rory W


I think its more the fact that housing is grotesquely overpriced in Dublin rather than actually wanting to live in one of the car friendly suburbs


Nobody is trying to blame anyone for admitting defeat in their quest to buy a house in Dublin and retreating to the county towns.

But if prime lands such as the Grange road in Rathfarnham were developed to a higher density instead of at 16 to the acre possibly unit prices would fall?

The percentage of land cost to construction cost is also a major issue. No-one can complain in areas such as Dublin 4.

When the site value of a house in particular un-named suburbs exceeds the construction cost questions need asking.

Higher densities around transport facilities are the only solution. Am I the only one who is confused by the term affordable housing?

Because none of it has come my way despite 20% of all development being classed affordable. :confused:
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Postby garethace » Tue Feb 24, 2004 10:59 pm

If you are lucky in architectural school you can just drift through the years, doing no urban sites at all practically in fourth year, and even picking to do a nice 'rural' project for the thesis.

I think they have even dropped the town study from fifth year.

Presentation requirements are for 1:100 or 1:200 drawings mainly. In practice, employers like architects would 'know' something about 1:20 scale junctions and details, to get stuck built.

I mean, some architects have never ever set foot in the places like Rathfarnham - nor would they even bother to distinguish those places in terms of density from the Liberties for instance.

But it is interesting how quickly planners grab onto these concepts:

http://www.cyburbia.org/forums/showthread.php?p=124851#post124851

I like the RIAI housing book, which at least divided itself up into the various environments, inner city, inner suburban and outer suburban. And at least made the attempt to deal with those as separate design problems.

That is what is so nice about the Fluid Space publication by UCD too, which goes along LUAS, which would have stations, or junction points, in all kinds of spatial urban, suburban situations.
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Postby PVC King » Tue Feb 24, 2004 11:10 pm

Originally posted by JordanB
I don't like the idea of heavy Federal involvement ether. The federal government milks $20 billion from the Chicago area a year. Illinois is one of the biggest doner states in the country. Just imagine what could be done here with $20 billion more public dollars a year.

Actually, considering that doner states are predominatly in the northwest and on the west coast, and the majority of the receiver states are in the Sunbelt, it makes you wonder how much the reappropriation of federal dollars promotes the rust belt/sun belt dichotomy.



http://www.cyburbia.org/forums/show...4851#post124851

It's on the Bush vs Kerry thread

One could easily substitute the donors ofDuiblin/Galway/Cork/Limerick and compare it with recipients such as South Kerry.
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Postby garethace » Tue Feb 24, 2004 11:20 pm

Or EU - Eastern Europe v. Western Europe at the moment too.
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Postby PVC King » Tue Feb 24, 2004 11:23 pm

Originally posted by garethace
Or EU - Eastern Europe v. Western Europe at the moment too.


The donors to the EU cohesion funds have a lot more control over how the money is spent than the transfers in Ireland or at federal level in the States.

Where the EU gives grants little question is made the EU has also been instrumental in tying in sustainability safegaurds into all grants made.

Where the EU doesn't give grants and the govt decides to do it anyway for political reasons. It often raises the question where EU grants can't be sourced is the project sustainable?
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Postby garethace » Tue Feb 24, 2004 11:28 pm

Yeah, but america have got a great TV series out of it, in the west wing. :)

Maybe this need to control vast sum of wealth appropriately is the very reason, why the planning profession in the USA seems to be a way different to what it is here in Europe?

I mean, I have talked to some of those guys at Cyburbia, and they all have gone to 'dedicated planning school' doing studio and all kinds of subjects just as architects would do here.

I was introduced to a lot of things concerning architects, over at cyburbia. I think Archiseek does it best.... but the planners in Ireland aren't anywhere near as vocal or savy as some Cyburbia posters.
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Postby PVC King » Tue Feb 24, 2004 11:34 pm

Originally posted by garethace

I mean, I have talked to some of those guys at Cyburbia, and they all have gone to 'dedicated planning school' doing studio and all kinds of subjects just as architects would do here.


It shows in many ways not least their communication skills both print and verbal.

Contrary to Irish perception the environment has excellent protection in most of the individual United States.

Many States would allow proportionately far fewer one off houses in the countyside than many Irish counties.

When you look at transit in places like Chicago and New York the punters have a real choice, whether to take their car to work or not. :)
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Postby garethace » Wed Feb 25, 2004 3:46 pm

It shows in many ways not least their communication skills both print and verbal.




Architects and mental stimulation.



Speaking honestly, having studied and listened to a large number of experts in Economics, computing and IT over the past few years, (some of these people were in their 60s and 70s) I got used to stimulating my brain a lot and reading/listening to debates and arguments which were interesting, made by people who were interesting. Maybe, those people can all be classified as specialising in academics more - but I was just shocked by how dull, mahogony-like, 'brain-dead' and almost hollow by comparison some of the more notable architects here in Ireland sound when they try to speak in public.

Of course, some of these architects were greatly helped by their shere level of charisma and one-to-one personal charm. By their excellent command over the English Language and enormous capacities for drinking beer. But the almost non-existent content of academic stimulation was mostly too apparent. I happen to know personally some of these individuals and like them a lot as people, I do greatly value their talent and experience in working as designers. But one thing is certain - that architects brains are allowed to go 'out to grass' far too early in life. By the time you are mid-20s, it seems in a lot of ways, your learning and mental stimulation days are over - and it is just one big sea of Guinness and hang overs stretching in front of you, for miles in all directions.

Which is why I wonder about making the AAI part of the colleges of architecture here in Dublin, and having exhibition space, not in the basement of 8 Merrion Square, but perhaps in the entrance route to an architectural school, or someplace. I wonder why planning and geography etc, could not all be part of the one campus with architecture. Probably a complete and absolute pipe dream of mine, but still. . . we need those dreams too I think.

I mean, Bolton Street or Richview Institutes of architecture, couldn't possibly be more 'cut-off' from daily life in many ways. I.e. No young architect is ever going to bother dropping back in there to look at a book or to read a thesis ever again. Yet courses like Law, economics, business, computing - all the things driving the celtic tiger - they all depended upon older experienced people constantly updating their knowledge and bringing things constantly up to a next level. You simply cannot do that stuck in a pub of a Friday evening talking about Corb. The initial education in college is very challenging and intense, very educational and stimulating, but after that.... ? I mean, places like Angier Street, specialising in all kinds of Law, business and computing subjects seems to be as much geared for the older student coming back, as it is for the new one starting out.






On the topic of development in America - these are interesting: http://www.openrangeimaging.com/images/

Very once off, very remote, very car oriented. Lots of different 'Americas' me thinks.
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Postby PVC King » Wed Feb 25, 2004 4:18 pm

Originally posted by garethace
But the almost non-existent content of academic stimulation was mostly too apparent. I happen to know personally some of these individuals and like them a lot as people, I do greatly value their talent and experience in working as designers.

So it was all the more difficult for me to admit the truth - that a large number of these great architects, had stopped using a large part of their brain years and years ago. .


The SCS is strong in this regard a qualified member must do a number of courses every couple of years. It keeps them in touch with trends and new techniques.

Originally posted by garethace
By the time you are mid-20s, it seems in a lot of ways, your learning and mental stimulation days are over - and it is just one big sea of Guinness and hang overs stretching in front of you, for miles in all directions.


It's called being Irish and when you put the terrible weather into the equation it is depressing.

Originally posted by garethace
Which is why I wonder about making the AAI part of the colleges of architecture here in Dublin, and having exhibition space, not in the basement of 8 Merrion Square, but perhaps in the entrance route to an architectural school, or someplace. I wonder why planning and geography etc, could not all be part of the one campus with architecture.


More use should be made of the RHA in Ely Place for sure, nothing could be more important than the population at large learning more about the Built Environment.



Originally posted by garethace
Yet courses like Law, economics, business, computing - all the things driving the celtic tiger - they all depended upon older experienced people constantly updating their knowledge and bringing things constantly up to a next level. You simply cannot do that stuck in a pub of a Friday evening talking about Corb.


The days of one job for life are definitely behind us. But discussing the benefits of Corb over one off housing wouldn't take up too much of a friday night. As flawed as Corbs work is anything is better than Bungalow Blitz
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Postby garethace » Wed Feb 25, 2004 4:53 pm

Products can sometimes be introduced into the market place from the top down, while other times, introduced from the bottom up. Education is no different. The top down, is where you release a product say at €4,000 and watch it get more competitive in price as time goes on - clothes and fashions are a bit like that. As next season approaches, it tends to reduce in price. Only to become replaced by something totally new, hip and trendy.

Then with the bottom up policy - you introduce a simpler product at the bottom and watch it grow in sophistication, as more improvements and additions are contributed over time. Eventually the difference between the low-end product, and the 'high-end' product might be so small, as to catipult the low-end product into the high end market. I am worried that too ideas and concepts in planning, architecture and the built environment, are just being introduced from the top-down. With very little new coming in at the bottom.

I would love to see an R&D project, part in college with a masters program or something, part out of college with existing experts done into 'architectural space' or something. Like the way geographers seem to grab so much R&D money to do GIS, population surveys and census analysis. Architects don't have any R&D output at all. Except in the building materials end of it, where Duncan Stewart tests glulam beams to destruction etc, etc.

The said finding from such an R&D project into 'architectural space' could indeed form the basis for a lecture course to undergraduates or something. So the value of the work gets recycled back into the system over and over again - instead of just sitting on a shelf in Bolton Street Library in the form of a 5th Year thesis report, never again to be used or opened. I imagine, there is probably even enough material in those said 5th year thesis reports, to mine into and actually compile an R&D project on architectural space here in Ireland or something.

But it is this whole point of recycling and churning the knowledge and learning, back into the system at various points, which I am trying to discuss. I have never heard of any year head etc, in architecture school ever heading up such an R&D project or anything. What we have in Ireland is loads of money - but money just sitting there doing nothing is of no value - not in the building industry, not in any industry either. Convert it into knowledge, expertise and ways to go forward.

Just one case, where I am familar.

http://www.archiseek.com/content/showthread.php?s=&threadid=2664

I hate the way that computers were introduced into architecture from the top down in this country. Normally by some old guy at the top, about 10 years away from retirement. Instead of from the bottom up. Ironically the old guy is probably more worried about what will last for the next 12 months and just do enough 'to get him/her by'. Indeed, the older guy might introduce something, and replace it at great expense and hassle, loss of productivity etc, every 12 months.

Whereas the younger person, might actually be more worried about how it could evolve and grow over a much longer period. Using computers as design tools was clearly a situation, in which a bit of help for R&D, masters working in college and a bit of outside help etc, that the young raw recruits could actually be the ones to bring computing into the design of architecture in this country. But it was all down by big 'grey beards' from the top down, who could only see a few yards in front of their own face.
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Postby garethace » Sat Feb 28, 2004 3:49 pm

A good example of introducing talent from the bottom up, is possibly in the case of soccer and other sports. You do not find managers as such, going around telling very young players how to play better soccer.
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Postby FIN » Tue Mar 02, 2004 12:43 pm

course u do. how do u think they improve their games. learn tactics etc.
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Postby PVC King » Wed Mar 03, 2004 11:34 pm

Originally posted by FIN
course u do. how do u think they improve their games. learn tactics etc.


Thats exactly why Irish soccer is in a mess, too much coaching at a very young age prevents kids from developing their creativity vs the local coaches idea as to what creativity may be.

Similarly in Architecture or any academic field if too much theory is crammed in we lose the message. Which as in soccer comes from yourself or doesn't exist.

A freind recently secured pp for a house on his parents two acre home in Swords. He has been tied to a five year occupancy and no sub-letting/sale agreement. Thats fine for him as he got married last year and works as a sales rep; the house is in the middle of his North Dublin territory. :)
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pain in the ass

Postby T.G. Scott » Fri Mar 05, 2004 6:57 am

just spent ten minutes writing a reply and went to post = told i wasnt logged in = lost message and back to square one!!!
hence pain in the ass.....is this just me or is there a way to prevent this from happening...or am i just a gobshite :confused:
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Postby garethace » Fri Mar 05, 2004 9:40 pm

Originally posted by Diaspora


Thats exactly why Irish soccer is in a mess, too much coaching at a very young age prevents kids from developing their creativity vs the local coaches idea as to what creativity may be.

Similarly in Architecture or any academic field if too much theory is crammed in we lose the message. Which as in soccer comes from yourself or doesn't exist.




Diamonds in the rough.

I was watching a very good programme about diamonds last night, that is a classic example of where the market is heavily regulated by De Beers, and the programme was all to do with artificial diamonds coming in at the bottom end of the market for around €4000 compared to the high end diamonds worth many more thousands.

That eventually the artificial diamonds may equal in terms of quality and may even surpass that of the real thing.

I think that the Architectural profession is a bit like De Beer's in this country, sure, they are entrusted with the care of the 'concept' of architecture, but do not think for even one second they are always, in every possible situation and in every individual case, going to be the best 'parents' of architecture.

De Beer's put mega bucks into science to allow them to 'verify a real diamond'. So as not to 'flood' the market with fake diamonds.

In the same way, that most of the resources for architectural education in this country are mainly devoted towards 'verifying' the existence of a 'real architect'. As if you could just throw the average early 20 something into a litmus solution and watch the colour turn either oranage or blue.

That is what De Beer's are reduced to doing now, and so is the architectural education system here in Ireland. Yes diamonds that occur in nature are amazing, and the natural real thing will always be more sought after. Coming about through an amazing process of time and pressure and all sorts of conditions.

But the market for cheaper, artificial diamonds is there waiting to be exploiting, a different market to the market for real diamonds. As yet, no one in this country has shown any interest in this new market, for cheaper architects.

Architecture itself is not 'owned' by any profession at all. The concept itself is independent, while it did seem for a while that Man U owned soccer, that is simple not the case, when you get to the core of it.

In fact, the modern game of soccer as we know it today was something born out of the slums in places like Rio De Janiero.

On the subject of cars and Irish Architecture.

One of the best places I know, which explains this and you can experience it physically is Stillorgan centre and junction. It is just off the main Stillorgan dual carriageway and Kilmacud Road Upper comes into the junction, along with a couple of 'overflows' from the Stillorglan dual carriageway.

There is a couple of pubs, restaurants, banks, shops, cinema, shopping mall, surface car parking, Omni PLEX and so on. But the place is entirely useless because pedestrian were not anywhere considered in the whole equation. It is ALL 100 car in that case, how to drive your car, get out of it and shop.

It is easy to talk about density and 'mothers walking' to shops etc, but, it still doesn't work when you have a mess of traffic like that. It is one of the few places I know in Dublin city, where the cars literally 'keep driving' even though the 'green man' is turned on!!!!! and old ladies are tried to cross the road.

It is just so much hassle to get from the Omni PLEX to the cinema, to the shopping mall!!! Across all the lanes and traffic going in all directions.
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Postby garethace » Fri Apr 02, 2004 9:12 pm

Courtesy of the Albuquerque Tribune.....

Pocket guide to urban sprawl slang....

http://www.abqtrib.com/archives/news04/032304_news_sprawl.shtml
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