Ugly buildings

Ugly buildings

Postby Philip Gerken » Wed Jun 09, 1999 9:05 pm

What about the Central Bank on Dame Street, it has no form whatsover, and that other monstrosity (among others of its ilk) the catholic church at Donnycarney traffic lights (don't know its real name)
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Postby BTH » Thu Jun 10, 1999 10:27 am

I have to disagree with you there. The central bank is a quality building, looking as fresh today as it did when it was built. I love the dramatic overhangs, the deeply recessed windows, the chunky, yet elegant, bronze hangers... I went to Dublin in January with 60 other architecture students from all over England and Scotland, and the vast majority were very impressed by the Central bank, along with temple bar etc.

[This message has been edited by BTH (edited 10 June 1999).]
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Postby David Chambers » Thu Nov 06, 2003 2:08 pm

Regarding ugly buildings the one building which I would nominate is the Mother of Divine Grace Catholic Church in Raheny, near Raheny crossroads. It is totally out of scale with the neighbouring buildings, not that I have anything against tall buildings. It is more suited to being a hangar for a stealth bomber aircraft than as a place of prayer and reflection. The triangular mish-mash at the front of this monolithic mess is very demanding on the eye. To me this building is a good metaphor for how the Catholic Church was all powerful in the 1960's. It reflects how dictatorial Archbishop John Charles McQuaide was to his flock and society in general, not to mention his egotism. The interior of this church resembles more a warehouse than the House of God. Forklift trucks and wooden pallets would look more at home here than church furniture. I feel that this building is a good candidate for demolition.
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Re: Ugly buildings

Postby phil » Thu Nov 06, 2003 2:14 pm

Originally posted by Philip Gerken
What about the Central Bank on Dame Street, it has no form whatsover....
I completely disagree with you about this comment. I think it is one of the most striking buildings in Dublin. I preferred it before they altered the roof thought. I liked the way its structure was bare for all to see.
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Postby Morlan » Thu Nov 06, 2003 2:24 pm

I really like the overhangs too. The work they did at the front to fence off the steps was excellent. Wasn't it supposed to be a few floors higher?
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Postby d_d_dallas » Thu Nov 06, 2003 2:43 pm

Central Bank is one of the only decent buildings built in Dublin in the last 40 years - it is SS's masterpiece, and a wonder of engineering in construction. It's also perfectly fitting for those who reside in it.

If you want to see an ugly building go around the corner from Central Bank and check out Hawkins house - a cliche I know - but it is the most seriously ugly building we have.

Any news on it's refurbishment? The plans were unveiled years ago (think either OMS or Murray OLaoire?!?) - but no movement... story?

As for CB supposed to be higher - the roof was in direct contravention of the planning permission of the time, but as the building was built from "the top down" the roof was the first thing installed and so to compromise the cladding was left off the roof - but "leaks" years later meant the roof got finished off to some degree (and quite visible it is throughout Dublin).
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Postby Andrew Duffy » Thu Nov 06, 2003 3:09 pm

The building as it stands now is exactly as was on the builders' plans (roof and all), but rather different to the plans submitted for planning permission.
The building is 25 years old this year. Design work started in 1970 and construction (minus the roof) finished in 1978. I can't think of a better looking building from that decade anywhere else in Dublin.
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Postby what? » Thu Nov 06, 2003 4:18 pm

here here, the central bank is the best building in dublin city (even if it was spawned by that philistine stephenson) it is by far the most interesting and daring building ever to be 'allowed' into Dublin.
The public space in front of it was the most succesful int the whole city and the steps were used by a wide range of dubliners (not just rocker kids) as a meeting point, making it a public place in the most real sense. Only what did they do to it? f**k it up by putting railings around the steps so the bankers could feel slightly less intimidated as they walked up the steps to their jobs. and dont get me started on the design of mentioned railings, as far as i remember it was sam stephensons office who was credited with the works on the site notice. could it be true? was this the final joke by sam at the expense of the city of dublin?
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Postby alan d » Thu Nov 06, 2003 4:56 pm

What? you're a continual source of mystery. What I think you'll like you don't and the reverse. The central bank building may be daring but is also most intimidating, don't know how you can argue against that?

Sam Stephenson has always been dead sharp, so why the "philistine" sobriquet?
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Postby phil » Thu Nov 06, 2003 5:03 pm

I think that the railings on front of the bank ruin the whole 'public space' completely.
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Postby what? » Thu Nov 06, 2003 5:30 pm

maybe personal opinon overrode reasoning in that post. My opinion of sam stephenson is largely based on an arrogant televison appearence by him some years ago and a lecture i attended by him more recently. In the tv appearence he came accross as largely unappologetic for his major part in ravaging a priceless historic part of dublin and erecting his infamous 'bunkers' design, the insensitivity of which (in all aspects) i have yet to see rivalled. At the lecture i attended a couple of years ago he systematically went through movements in art and architecture over the past century and un-constructively criticised them. no positives or alternatives offered, just unbeleivably arrogant and, on the face of it ignorant statements. eg. (quote from memory)'picasso was a perfectly adequate painter until he saw cubism coming and jumped on the bandwagon' and how 'hadid's paintings were a complete waste of time'. im all for criticsm, but when it is dne in a manner where there seems to be no reason other than venting anger i can but question the intelligence of that person.
on the central bank, i will admit to having a romanticised idea of this building. i love the way it looms over the roofs of all the other buildings when seen from christchurch end of dame street. i admire the success that was the decission to carve out a space between the other buildings on dame street and create a proper public space in dublin, successful because of its prominence and position. i enjoy walking under the massive over hangs (wind tunnels as they may be) and looking up as they reach over almost touching the older roofs accross the streets.
this is a personal taste one more than most as youll see fromthe other posts above. you either love it and pick out the positives or hate it and see the negatives. overbearing or encompassing? up to you
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Postby Papworth » Fri Nov 07, 2003 11:28 am

Sam's Central Bank has grown on me over the years. What I really like about it is those hanging cables stretching like guitar strings keeping the floors up - a great example of architecture and visible structural engineering -for the pits of a building just walk around the corner from the Central Bank and view Blooms Hotel - a great example of 70s 9 inch cavities at their pinacle.
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Postby alan d » Fri Nov 07, 2003 11:40 am

I've never been convinced myself about Picasso's life drawing What?

Anyway, don't we like our architects to be opinionated and objectionable at times, as long as it's done with humour.

Having sat though Gehry, Hopkins, Rogers, Graves, Herzog and de M, and so many more til my backside felt like a length of plywood , gimme someone who can make you laugh and provoke anytime.
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Postby what? » Fri Nov 07, 2003 12:22 pm

alan,i know it sounds hard to believe, but the comments on picasso etc. were not said as some ironic joke. they were said in all seriousness by a man who came accross as embittered because he was on the downhill slope of his career. and provocation is fine but we dont have to like the person who does it.

and at the risk of sounding harsh if i wanted to laugh id go to a comedy show.

while we are on the topic of ugly buildings, is your yaught project going to built? only messing i think it looks very interesting and quite sophisticated (from what i acn see in the images on this site) plus the drawings look really great and emotive. unlike most hand drawings these days which look dated and naff. do you do them or does someone in your office?
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Postby Rory W » Fri Nov 07, 2003 12:34 pm

I think the bollocking Sam gets for the bunkers is a case of shooting the messenger - if you want to blame someone for the civic offices it should be Frank Feely & co - they comissioned it, they could have said no to the design!

Yes they are awful buildings but blame where blame is due!
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Postby alan d » Fri Nov 07, 2003 12:55 pm

The problem What? was trying to get the sea looking cold enough and yes they are my drawings.

As for ugly buildings, you're not a member of An Taisce by any chance?
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Postby Morlan » Fri Nov 07, 2003 1:17 pm

Thought you might like to see this.
It really shows you how daunting the Central Bank is.


http://www.dublintown.net/centralbankl.html
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Postby sw101 » Fri Nov 07, 2003 1:45 pm

Yup. Central bank. Shite. Pure and unadulterated.

Exposed structure maybe. Exposed lack of skill or imagination. Most definitely. Most people i've heard defending it are entrenched dubs who grew up drinking under it or getting mugged in the laneways that surround it. As a blow in i must say my first, second, and all impressions of it are close to revulsion.

Here's to the day i get my last impression of it as they dismantle it piece by clunky piece
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Postby Rory W » Fri Nov 07, 2003 6:05 pm

A few points on the Central Bank:

1) at least it is interesting - most of the dross that passes for office architecture in this town is dull to the point of narcolepsy - see Lower Mount Street for example. I think the fact that the building is hung from the roof structure shows a trace of imagination dont you thinK?

2) the railings - I think that it is only fair to the employees that they don't have to walk through groups of goth kids sitting on the steps or flying at them on skateboards or winos drinking, puking etc on the steps. Since these 'members of society' have acted in the way that they did - the railings had to go up. I wouldn't like to have to deal with this every day on my way in and out of work, it IS intimidating - would you?

I don't want to sound like a Stephenson apologist - but I think a lot of the criticism is misguided and over the top on this point
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Postby alan d » Fri Nov 07, 2003 6:28 pm

I agree Rory. Out of order. Not architectural critisism at all , more the stuff you see scrawled on a bog wall.

Easy to be hyper critical when you don't show your own work innit?
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Postby alan d » Fri Nov 07, 2003 6:33 pm

I've got my hat handy SW101 and I'm ready to eat it ........lets see yer stuff, then?

Crayon images always show up well on line
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Postby what? » Fri Nov 07, 2003 7:01 pm

i have to say rory, that i think the railings are about more than the workers feeling slightly uneasy on their way up the steps to work. without being over the top i think they represent an attitude towards the city. what was a very popular civic space is railed off and privatised. whats more important the feelings of a few suits (who didnt really have to go near the bums with the width of those steps) or the value of in my opinion the best public space we had? aside from that i think the design is one of the most woeful peices of urban design this side of the eighties. if you want to see some my work there is a picture in the property section of last wednesdays irish times. ooo the mystery!
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Postby phil » Fri Nov 07, 2003 7:29 pm

Originally posted by Rory W
A few points on the Central Bank:

2) the railings - I think that it is only fair to the employees that they don't have to walk through groups of goth kids sitting on the steps or flying at them on skateboards or winos drinking, puking etc on the steps. Since these 'members of society' have acted in the way that they did - the railings had to go up. I wouldn't like to have to deal with this every day on my way in and out of work, it IS intimidating - would you?



Firstly I think it is important that you should realise that there is a large difference between goths and skateboarders, both of whom I should say have just as much right to the city as the bankers do. Secondly I think that you should also realise that 'members of society' such as winos puking on the steps have often ended up in this situation through no fault of their own. To rail off these areas is to live in a city where nothing happens, a world where you do not have to think. This sort of world is more like an artist impression of an urban area than reality. The attitude shown to our public spaces in the urban areas of this country are getting out of control and very worrying. Last summer I was in Placa dels Angels in Barcelona. This is the plaza where Richard Meier's Museum of Contemporary Art is situated. There were skaters enjoying themselves by interpreting the city in an imaginative way. The only time I saw a security guard was when they came out for a cigarette. This is not to say that the skaters were the only ones in the plaza. There were people sitting, children playing, people just walking through and the restaurants had seats outside on the plaza (where I watched this spectacle from). Finally I don't find this sort of activity intimidating whatsoever. The more that different activities are segregated and outlawed within the city the less understanding we have of them. The more this happens the more we will feel intimidated by them.
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Postby GrahamH » Fri Nov 07, 2003 8:57 pm

The railings destroy the architecture of the flights of steps - as to their necessity I just don't know.

I like the Bank, but hate its location.
It is in the Roches category of landing from outer-space,only 65 million times worse.

It crashes down into the city, and to this day it still looks so obvious that a terrace of buildings were demolished to make way for it on Dame St, this gaping wound in the streetscape is the worst aspect of the building.
The original proposal to retain the facade of the Commercial Buildings and others and to have a large archway through to the plaza would have addressed this.

The pathetic 'replica' of the Commercial Bldgs that's there now should never have been built, it virtually overlaps the Bank and destroys the symmetry of the public space, with a st running down the left-hand side and this lump of clinical rubbish on the other.

Some views of the roof trusses look interesting - like from the Ha'penny Bridge - but from most areas of the city it is a cluttered mess.
It is the finest building from its time in the city, just the location is ludicrous.

It would look fantastic if it was Cork County Hall, sitting in the middle of the field - its current position is utterly out of context.
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Postby phil » Tue Nov 11, 2003 1:59 pm

I agree with you about the commercial buildings replica. I once heard that when the original was dismantled most of the bricks went missing so that is why most of the building (the door looks original) is a fake. I suppose it was a bit of a joke moving it in the first place anyway so it was always going to be a replica after it had been dismantled from its original spot.
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