Nassau Street, Dublin

Nassau Street, Dublin

Postby GrahamH » Fri Jul 18, 2003 8:28 pm

This is just a rambling 'oh if only' kind of thread.

I think its such a pity the state of Nassau Street today.
It is a thoroughfare of strategic importance in the city, linking its central quality retail areas of Grafton and Dawson, the highly important touristy street of Kildare St containing national institutions, linking on to the Green, as well as Merrion Square to the east and College Green to the west.

And despite the possession of some of the city's most exclusive stores, the thoroughfare's streetscape has been decimated over the past few decades.

What could have been a charming late Georgian & Victorian terrace has been replaced by some of the ugliest buildings in the city - as anyone who has had the unfortunate experience of seeing the effects of structures such as the brown aggregate Setanta Centre (Celtic Note etc) from the grounds of Trinity can verify.

The Blarney Wollen Mills have had a stunning Edwardian style shopfront installed recently, but it looks utterly ridiculous in the context of the 80s red & orange bricked office block in which its located - slap bang next to the beautiful cut limestane of Hannas bookshop next door.

And as for the House of Ireland office block with pieces of its facade falling off...

And the horrible horrible Norwich Union office block at the Grafton end of the st, towering over the Provost's house & the railings of Trinity.

This is the street on which so many American & other tourists see the city for the first time and it is an utter mess.

And of course motorists have full priority over pedestrians, with the timing of traffic lights, but more importantly, the shamful lack of pavement on the Trinity side - caused by the pedestrianisation of Grafton St, causing the need for more traffic lanes on Nassau.
Indeed in the 70s, the Corpo were quite willing to sweep away Trinity's railings - the saving grace of the street now - just to accomodate this!

Now this pavement is utterly jammed with people waiting for buses, pedestrians, and tourists buses.

The street is'nt even offered the basic dignity of street lighting! There is the grand total of 2 modern lamposts outside the Kilkenny Shop.

Commercial waste is thrown out onto the pavements every evening at 4.30-5.00, and pedestrians are crying out for more space at this time of day at rush hour.

Instead of being a beautiful 'stroll along and relax' street, full of promenading pedestrians, it is a high-charged corridor for cars, full of irritated pedestrians and terrible buildings.

The destruction of its beautiful built environment & character is by far the greatest crime perpetrated on the street and is yet another of the many losses to Dublin City.
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Postby nono » Sun Jul 20, 2003 6:19 pm

have to admit a soft spot fot the building with falling facade, the details are not all that bad and it fits in well with the city as a whole,i like the windows on the corner inparticular, its not an amazing building, but has a nice tactile honesty about it, its good for its time, its good for now , but i guess its only a matter of time before we see some more glass + cheap nasty stone facade glued on...
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Postby paul_moloney » Mon Jul 21, 2003 11:52 am

Does anyone know what would have been going through the mind of the architect who designed the Setanta Centre?:

"Hmm, you know, what this building _really_ needs is a big useless space underneath where winos can piss. Yeah, and I'll stick a hidden mosaic over in the far corner where it can safely be ignored."

Here's my idea; let's knock them all down, find the plans for the original buildings there (we can come up with a definition of "original" later) and start again. If any architects claim this diminishes their profession and limits their creativity, we just send them here:

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Postby GrahamH » Mon Jul 21, 2003 7:57 pm

I must admit to liking the corner office building also, however not the steel grids that have been attached to catch the falling masonry to which I was referring.
The building has a wonderful transparent quality to it, with the glass continuing around the street corner, and the red cladding is distinctively muted and appropriate.

Still, it merely adds to the elimination of a distinctive historic character to the street.

About Setanta, you really must see the view from the grounds of Trinity, it is unbelivable how this building got the go ahead when viewed from here, its massive! Its double the height of the streetscape when the part thats stepped back from the main facade is taken into account.
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