Stephenson - poacher turned gamekeeper?

Stephenson - poacher turned gamekeeper?

Postby Paul Clerkin » Mon May 03, 1999 12:36 pm

In an affidavit, the architect Mr Sam Stephenson said the proposed monument would affect buildings of artistic, architectural or historic interest on O'Connell Street, particularly the GPO, "the most significant building on the street and probably that with the most important historical resonance for the public".

from 3 May Irish Times.....


....obviously building the ESB HQ on Fitzwilliam Street didnt affect anything of historical, artistic or architectural interest.....
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Postby john white » Tue May 04, 1999 9:49 am

Oh that's right - wasn't it the longest unbroken Georgian Street in the world?

Some crap documentary about him years ago
related how on his way to school he was hit
by a big bone thrown out of a doorway whilst on the way to school. With a chuckle the
narrator said "Well, Sam got his revenge on the woman years later when he built the Bord
Na Mona offices on Baggot street." Ha Ha.
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Postby john white » Tue May 04, 1999 9:51 am

Oops, sorry.
You meant Fitzwilliam Street. He messed up that too?

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Postby Charlie » Sat May 08, 1999 1:44 am

Sam Stephenson seems to have done more than any other architect to screw-up Dublin architecturally. A list of the crap he's designed would proabably overload this message board.
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Postby J Lobb » Sun May 09, 1999 4:37 pm

That's it - blame the architect. Sam Stephenson was merely the instrument of Irish society's confusion and self-loathing at the time. The design merits of his buildings may be open to quesstion, but he can hardly be blamed for the demolition spree of the sixties/seventies.

In fact, I think that the ESB building on Fitzwilliam Street is a rather fine example of new-build architecture in an established historical context. The materials are contemporary yet sensitive. The scale and rhythm of the facade are excellently judged and it looks like a large amount of accommodation has been fitted in while maintaing the scale of the area. It IS rather unfortunate that an enoprmous chunk of intact Georgian architecture was flattened in order to provide a site. But this is something that everyone was was doing and the wider society is guilty of. It is unlikely that it made any financial difference to Sam Stephenson where the building was built. The ESB, on the other hand, obviously had a great financial interest in the demolition.

Rant over.
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Postby Paul Clerkin » Mon May 10, 1999 12:29 pm

I think we're missing the point here... what i was drawing attention to was the fact that Stephenson is opposing the spike on aesthetic and historical grounds which seems a bit much.......

maybe he's mellowing as he get's older.....
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Postby Charlie » Mon May 10, 1999 5:54 pm

J. Lobb, That's right I DO blame the architect. Yes the powers that were had a lot to do with it, but the majority of Mr. Stephenson's architecture that I'm aware of is awful - with the exception of the Central Bank. And those resposible in the ESB for the desicration of Fitzwilliam St should be shot. Maybe the building there would be acceptable if it was stuck in some industrial estate. Shot too should most of the Corpo be for the Wood Quay disaster which has only recently been masked by the half decent STW building.

Paul, I agree that this thread has gone off the point. For my part of the ranting, I appologise!
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Postby Paul Clerkin » Mon May 10, 1999 5:57 pm

i dont mind the thread diverting - afterall thats what discussion is Image

[This message has been edited by Paul Clerkin (edited 10 May 1999).]
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Postby Jas » Tue May 11, 1999 9:09 am

The thing about the ESB building is that it actually replicates the rhythm of the previous Georgian buildings through dividing the facade into a similar number of divisions as there were houses.
From that point of view it is reasonably sensitive and doesnt break the streetscape up unduely but overall its a pretty poor building with little or no interest at streetlevel.
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Postby J Lobb » Wed Jun 09, 1999 7:48 pm

Interest at street level? Unlike the surrounding Georgian terraces I suppose - they're a real hoot.

Dublin Georgian architecture is like a vulgarly oversized wild-west cousin of English Georgian and at the end of the day, these were the fortresses of an aggressive colonial regime.

These buildings are valuable as historical artifacts, but the failure of Dubliners to utilise them as anything more than cheap office space shows how at odds they are with a modern democratic society.

Keep them and say "Never Again"!
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Postby phil » Tue Feb 03, 2004 7:48 pm

I remember reading an article in the Irish Times by Frank McDonald last year about the possibility of replacing the ESB facade with a Georgian reproduction. As far as I remember it was only going to be a possibility if the ESB moved out of the building. I would think that it would be a mistake to do this now as the ESB building is an interesting example of urban infill of its time. I am not trying to defend the destruction of the original buildings but I think that the damage is done and to replace the present facade would be almost like putting a giant photograph of the originals in its place. Who knows if this had not happened maybe gradually Georgian Dublin would have disappeared completely over a longer period of time. As it is it was the destruction of some of these areas that might have saved the rest of it.

I had heard that the ESB were thinking of moving to Sandyford. Anyone know anything else about it?
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Postby PVC King » Tue Feb 03, 2004 9:20 pm

Quote "to replace the present facade would be almost like putting a giant photograph of the originals in its place."

I agree the last thing we want is a pastiche facade although a new comtemporary facade might be a welcome change. As the existing facade really is very dated and lacking any architectural merit at all.

I too was surprised by Sam Stephensons remarks on the Spike. Given that he returned to O'Connell St in 2000 to laud Spencer Dock as 'high quality architecture' of course in a paid capacity.

That said Sam did some good buildings although most of them were definitley in the wrong places. But being grown up about it, his at least had some architectural merit and many of them will probably be listed as time rolls on.

As for the ESB moving you just don't know with ESB, they seem to change senior management more often than their customers change lightbulbs.
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Postby Paul Clerkin » Tue Feb 03, 2004 11:41 pm

Originally posted by phil
I remember reading an article in the Irish Times by Frank McDonald last year about the possibility of replacing the ESB facade with a Georgian reproduction. As far as I remember it was only going to be a possibility if the ESB moved out of the building. I would think that it would be a mistake to do this now as the ESB building is an interesting example of urban infill of its time. I am not trying to defend the destruction of the original buildings but I think that the damage is done and to replace the present facade would be almost like putting a giant photograph of the originals in its place. Who knows if this had not happened maybe gradually Georgian Dublin would have disappeared completely over a longer period of time. As it is it was the destruction of some of these areas that might have saved the rest of it.

I had heard that the ESB were thinking of moving to Sandyford. Anyone know anything else about it?



http://www.archeire.com/news/2002/000051.htm
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Postby FIN » Wed Feb 04, 2004 10:55 am

"The ESB's planning application for a major office development in Leopardstown opens up the possibility that the damage it did to Dublin's "Georgian Mile" more than 30 years ago could be undone."
"The board claimed that the late-18th-century houses were structurally unsound and commissioned Sir John Summerson, an English architectural historian, to condemn them as "simply one damned house after another". "
" it would be possible to rebuild the 16 houses - both inside and out - thereby reinstating Lower Fitzwilliam Street and atoning for what was probably the worst single crime perpetrated on Georgian Dublin. "


the only crime is that they didn't knock the whole f**king lot of them.. what a disaster if they rebuild them. talk about not learning from mistakes of the past.
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Postby GregF » Wed Feb 04, 2004 11:39 am

the only crime is that they didn't knock the whole f**king lot of them.. what a disaster if they rebuild them. talk about not learning from mistakes of the past. [/B][/QUOTE]


You are from Galway, therefore you ignorantly say that!
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Postby phil » Wed Feb 04, 2004 11:46 am

Thanks for that Paul. I should have looked for it first.

Thanks again

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Postby FIN » Wed Feb 04, 2004 11:48 am

Originally posted by GregF
You are from Galway, therefore you ignorantly say that!


what has me being from galway got to do with anything? the fact the georgian houses are a mistake to keep execpt for 1/2 so people can get on a tour bus and see them or the fact that i believe that it's a huge mistake to rebuild some on some terrace? these are poxy houses. if a bungalow was destroyed would you want them to recreate it? same difference. they were a style for a forgotten era and so should be left there and more modern houses built to accomodate people from this era because the way we live our lives, spend our leisure time have changed immensly.
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Postby GregF » Wed Feb 04, 2004 11:56 am

Originally posted by FIN


what has me being from galway got to do with anything? the fact the georgian houses are a mistake to keep execpt for 1/2 so people can get on a tour bus and see them or the fact that i believe that it's a huge mistake to rebuild some on some terrace? these are poxy houses. if a bungalow was destroyed would you want them to recreate it? same difference. they were a style for a forgotten era and so should be left there and more modern houses built to accomodate people from this era because the way we live our lives, spend our leisure time have changed immensly.


My Jasus....what a stupid comment! I'm not even gonna reply, but I reckon ye should get those architectural history books out so as to learn a bit about architectural heritage so as to appreciate it more. You sound like an amadan at the moment.
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Postby phil » Wed Feb 04, 2004 11:56 am

It is interesting to read what Frank McDonald said in that article from February 15th of 2002 with regards to the Georgian Mile, when on February 16th he had the following to say about Collins Barracks;

Irish Times: February 16 2002: A facade too far


"Fundamental questions about architectural integrity are raised by the OPW's decision to take a 'facadist' approach to the next phase of the National Museum at Collins Barracks. If one of the fine Georgian houses on Merrion Square were to be destroyed by fire next week, nobody could argue that it should be replaced by a contemporary building. The only acceptable solution from a conservation viewpoint would be a faithful reconstruction, both inside and out.But in the case of Collins Barracks, the issue is not quite so clear-cut. Built in the first decade of the 18th century as the Royal Barracks, it was laid out around three squares, only one of which - Clarke Square - survives intact. The buildings that formed its central square were demolished in the 1890s."
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Postby notjim » Wed Feb 04, 2004 12:02 pm

fin, don't be silly.

as for restoring the esb, there would be no point in recreating the facade if the esb building stood in isolation, but, it is part of a fine terrace and recreating the facade would restore the terrace. here is the analogy, there is no point in building a reproduction table, but, if you have an antique table with a missing leg, it is perfectly sensible to make a repro leg.

as for sam stephenson, the cb is great and the dublin ias building is kind of cool and, quite well layed out for its purpose, but sadly it was built so so cheaply, also it isn't big enough for the whole ias, on the school of theoretical physics is there with celtic studies next door and cosmic physics on merrion sq so i guess they will move eventually and then i don't know what will happen to it. that mews with the conversation pit is fantastic, i had some important work visitors we put up there once and it was such fun talking to them there, you felt like you were in the sixties.
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Postby phil » Wed Feb 04, 2004 12:06 pm

I still would think that it should be left, as both a reminder and as a piece in itself.
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Postby FIN » Wed Feb 04, 2004 12:15 pm

Originally posted by GregF
architectural history books out so as to learn a bit about architectural heritage so as to appreciate it more.


appreciated yes, recreated no. absolutely stupid to do that. progress is what's needed not harping back to yonder years. " why weren't they great, they can build houses" f**k sake. it's time do look to the future. this is what has dublin the kip it is. it's a low level dirty city that most people dislike execpt for a few.
now i know i'm going to get abuse for that statement but it's time someone woke you from your slumber. it's a kip and while it is improving it has a long way to go and maybe when they were first built they might have been nice but not now. they are outdated, dull and contribute nothing to modern society.
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Postby alan d » Wed Feb 04, 2004 12:18 pm

Wait a minute Greg, don't you think Fin has a valid point. If you rebuild a Georgian House in 2004 it's not a Georgian House, really. Is it?

Why would you want to hang on to something anyway that is so representational of the Empire?
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Postby notjim » Wed Feb 04, 2004 12:35 pm

hey, fin, what's your view on paris then, dirty, low level, knock the lourve but leave the pyramid?
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Postby FIN » Wed Feb 04, 2004 12:41 pm

the louvre is a different proposition than some georgian houses
and yes it is fairly low level and fairly dirty.
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