Ulster bank building - dublin

Ulster bank building - dublin

Postby john white » Wed Jun 02, 1999 10:05 am

Somebody mentioned a while ago, that building
by Tara Street?

I walk past this every morning and evening and God - I've had plenty of time to look at it. The new high rise which I'm sure will go up had better be an improvement on the likes of this hulking heap.

Honestly - it's like a big fat bloated corpse on the Quayside. It's not even as innovative as the Woodquay bunkers. Is it possible that it was DESIGNED by a firm of highly paid architects? Or was it simply assembled from existing 'off-the-shelf' drawings in lego?

It has a pre-fab or mail-order house look to it.

To call it a bloated corpse of a construction that looks as if it will eventually spread out like a monstrous lump of lead under it's own weight across the pavements and streets actually almost credits it with some substance whereas it's really more like sort of husk - a skeleton missing some sort of aesthetic meat.

And those - cheap aluminium and PVC pointed windows? God...

If you look down the river to the dare I say it - majestic SONY/Tennents/Guinness building [where the Harp Bar is/was.. showing my age] what a relief! It looks positively graceful, light, Ocean Going, thrusting upward as in Michelozzo's Pallazzo Medici-Ricardi in Firenze and even suggesting a sense of horizontal movement through the city - movement - not rooted in concrete - not squatting corpulently on the Quays like sacks of grain awaiting shipment.

Why can't the other said building be the Architecture of the future?

Anyway - who designed those?

John

[PS: sorry for being Dublin-centric]
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Postby BTH » Thu Jun 03, 1999 11:52 am

Thanks for the rant, and I fully agree with what you are saying. Buildings like this, with their cheap "mock georgian" look are the worst blots on the whole cityscape. The Jervis Centre is another example, except on an even more monstrous scale. As for the Ulster bank building, it's clear that no conceptual thought has gone into the design at all. Off the peg, without any respect at all for it's context... God it makes me angry! And I agree about the Guinness building also... an ordinary enough block, but with some grace and above all INTEGRITY. The courage of it's convictions. So many buildings avoid making any sort of statement about themselves other than to ape their surroundings, or even worse, to fade into the background. It is one thing about building in a city, you can never ever hope to make a building of the scale of the Ulster bank "fade into the background". As it stands it is truly offensive to the dignity of the wonderful customs house across the river.
A useful comparison is the civic offices (phase two) which I believe is a dignified and courageous attempt to promote modernity. And it succeeds. It's got wonderful detailing, massing, scale... the modern equivalent of the Customs house. Yes, it can be seen as "just another off the shelf STW design", but get beyond the prejudice and see the quality. At least compared to the Ulster Bank!

[This message has been edited by BTH (edited 03 June 1999).]
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