Terrazzo [was Meath Hospital]

Terrazzo [was Meath Hospital]

Postby Jas » Wed Aug 18, 1999 8:12 am

What is going to happen the Meath Hospital after closure. There is a very interesting 1950s [?] vlock with roof terraces and very nice stairwells.

Anyone know the architect?
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Postby RoryW » Wed Aug 18, 1999 1:24 pm

AS far as I know it is being taken over by th e Eastern Health Board for Old Folks & Day care Facilities.

Cant help with the Architect Though.

RJW
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Postby Paul Clerkin » Wed Aug 18, 1999 5:54 pm

Thats only a temporary situation as far as i know.... i'd hate to see it being sold for demolition for bland apartment blocks. Perhaps DIT or Trinity would buy for conversion into student accomodation.
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Postby john white » Thu Aug 19, 1999 12:52 pm

It's funny - I've long been an admirer of hospitals from the 30's/50's. All those clean horizintal lines and lots of light. They're often made of very nice narrow brick too.

I especially like the man-made coloured conglomerate floors which you often see in old schools and other state buildings. I like the way it's sturdily molded and curves up onto the base of the walls. Presumably to eliminate corner-loving germs. Easy to clean too. I reckon my ideal home will have that material [what is it? How is it laid?] and also those small square ceramic tiles, liberty hall, Busarus, hospitals and strangely enough [don't kill me... it's the only feature I like] Hawkins House!

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Postby MSArch » Sun Aug 22, 1999 4:35 pm

I believe it may be by Robinson Keefe architects - before Andrew Devane became a partner...... not 100 % sure though.
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Postby Snag » Wed Aug 25, 1999 9:58 pm

Dear John,

I think you are talking about terazzo. It is, I think, made of concrete with marble chips suspended in it. It usually has brass rods laid in it too. Isn't it fab? Pricey though. I live in a fairly crummy 1950's building which has beutiful pink and green terazzo in the hall. Just shows how little is spent on materials now...or here, its still widely used in Germany/France/Spain. Its nicely used upstairs in Stillorgan shopping centre.

The curvey floors: coving? Yes, for germs.

There are a couple of books on Irish hospital architecture, including one that came out last year by Freddie O'Dwyer (I think). It was reviewed in the Irish Arts Review by someone who said something like wasn't it lucky that modernism with its whiteness and flatness etcetera was used for the hospitals as it suits a 'hygenic' look. Duh.

Further proof of the appalling standard of Irish architectural journalism. I have seen more sense and intelligence in a few months of archeire postings than I have ever seen in the Irish Times/Irish Architect/RTE
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Postby MG » Thu Aug 26, 1999 8:24 am

The Department of Health brought out a book a few years on Hospital design from the formation of the state. It wasn't bad either.

The thing about the Irish Arts Review is that its written by a small coterie of people who couldnt get writing jobs in the real world and people who post here couldnt get into that little clique to get published in the journal.

I agree wholeheartedly with the comments on architectural journalism. Shane O'Toole mentioned it in an article in last weeks Sunday Business Post - http://www.sbpost.ie/leisure/Arts-Culture/barometer.html

EXTRACT:
"
There is much to do, and quickly, if we are not to bequeath "a legacy of bleak anonymity" to our children. According to the government's task group on policy for the promotion of public awareness of architecture, low levels of expectation of new buildings and of awareness of architecture exacerbate the current predicament. This is further worsened by a lethal gap between the language of the professionals and that of the public, making debate and communication almost impossible. Whatever may be the public's critical attitudes to new development, they are not expressed or heard in an effective manner.

That is hardly surprising when most newspaper commentary on Irish architecture is to be found in the media wilderness of the property pages. Things are done differently in other countries. There, debate on contemporary architecture, on recently completed buildings, is part of the everyday, critical content of reputable newspapers and magazines. In the newsagents of almost any European railway station you can buy half a dozen different architectural magazines published in Germany, Italy or Spain. In Britain, correspondents, such as Rowan Moore of the Evening Standard, Jonathan Glancey of The Guardian and Hugh Pearman of The Sunday Times drive a lively debate on the current state of the art.

It remains true in Ireland that contemporary architecture lacks a popular following, in the sense that much of the population is reluctant to identify with the architectural language set before it, seeking refuge in a caricature of the past. But the same could have been said of the Irish music scene 20 years ago. And look at the sophistication of many of our hotels and restaurants today. Look at the clothes we wear. When will one of our Irish newspapers take the public and social discussion of architecture and urban design to the next level? The demand is there. Archeire (www.archeire.com), the website devoted to Irish architecture reports up to 150,000 pages accessed per month. That is pretty good traffic for what is to date a `niche' subject.

It is widely acknowledged that a high plateau of general architectural quality has been scaled in recent years in Ireland. The peaks of the mountain will come within view only when the social discussion of architecture is extended beyond the specialists.
"
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Postby John White » Thu Aug 26, 1999 12:34 pm

Hi Snag

Terrazzo eh?
Thanks for the info. I should've guessed - I thought the chips were suspended in some polymer, perhaps it's COLOURED cement then.

It was used during the Renaissance in Italy and I think even goes as far back as ancient Rome: eg; Pompeii [esp. the roman villa] and Herculaneum. They used to grind it flat - probably with pumice or something.

I wonder though how it was laid and finished this century? Did they install it in pre-cast slabs or pour it out and grind it on site?

Very interesting. It appeals to me particulary as I've been going through a steadily increasing phase of Kitsch in my work the last couple of years!

Cheerio

John
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Postby John White » Thu Aug 26, 1999 12:40 pm

For those of you wishing to find out more about terrazzo...

http://www.depaolimosaic.com/primer4.htm

Read this and then you'll know why it's not used much anymore. Namely that Architecture these days employs the use of cheaply installed crap.

J
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Postby Paul Clerkin » Thu Aug 26, 1999 1:40 pm

The family business at home in Monaghan is one of three shops in a row with Terrazzo facades. The terrazzo is laid in two colours with a pattern around the windows and doorways. Each of the three shops are different colours - red/white - green / yellow [ours] and blue / white [painted over]

Originally installed in the 1940s I think, they also had very harmonious signage in a clean non-seriffed font.

I'll post a picture of the shop facade at some stage just to show the terrazzo pattern.


[ADDITION] Actually I just remembered that there were also two shops across the street with similar facades but these were removed in the earlys 1980s. They're very unusual and I've never seen anything similar elsewhere in the country - has anyone else?

[This message has been edited by Paul Clerkin (edited 27 August 1999).]
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Postby john white » Thu Aug 26, 1999 2:26 pm

That'd be nice Paul

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