Dublin: it isn't that ugly

Dublin: it isn't that ugly

Postby Boyler » Sun Mar 27, 2005 9:48 pm

I may be only 15, but I think Dublin is a nice looking city. OK, it isn't Paris, Rome, Vienna etc but it has it's own charm and beauty. I hate hearing Irish people, especially Dubliners, describe Dublin as a "smelly dump". There are, unfortunately, some terrible "developments" in the city but they are nothing compared to those in Brest, France. Don't get me wrong, the people there are friendly and helpful but I, personally, don't like the look of the city. I'm sure it was a handsome city before World War 2 but it is anything but now. I hope that this thread will start some interesting conversion. Hope I didn't offend any French people!
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Re: Dublin: it isn't that ugly

Postby Boyler » Sun Mar 27, 2005 10:09 pm

I'd like to know what visitors to Dublin think of the city. Many of my cousins from America and England think O'Connell St. is beautiful.
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Re: Dublin: it isn't that ugly

Postby PVC King » Sun Mar 27, 2005 11:35 pm

Boyler there is book called the destruction of Dublin by Frank McDonald which catalogues a lot of the mistakes made in Dublin, according to Frank McDonald Dublin in 1960 was along with Edinburgh two of the finest architecturally intact Cities in Northern Europe. Unfortunately a lot has happened since and a lot of people as a result have become very cynical that one of the finer cities architecturally has become ordinary and a victim of extremely poor hygene standards.

If you search the forums you will see many perfect streetscapes where only a church or institutional building now remains, in many cases a lot of the Georgian housing taken down was left derelict for years and became filled with rubbish and inhabited by lifes more unfortunates. Although things are improving the pace of improvement could be a lot faster and that is where most of the complaints come from I feel.
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Re: Dublin: it isn't that ugly

Postby Boyler » Sun Mar 27, 2005 11:45 pm

Thank you, Thomand Park, for your response. I respect your opinion and wonder how come we can't rebuild what was destroyed in the 1960's,1970's and early 1980's?
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Re: Dublin: it isn't that ugly

Postby PVC King » Sun Mar 27, 2005 11:51 pm

A good start is http://www.reflectingcity.com

There are lot of very well grounded theories put into to practice on that site, obviously not everybody will agree with everything, but thats probably a good thing.
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Re: Dublin: it isn't that ugly

Postby GrahamH » Mon Mar 28, 2005 2:47 am

Older Dubliners are very self-deprecating - suppose it stems from the fact that Dublin genuinely was falling down around their ears in the 60s, 70s & 80s - particularly those latter two decades.

The negativity is now vented through litter, dirt, on certain types of people, on certain areas of the city etc.
But the place has come on in leaps and bounds and many parts of it are exceptionally beautiful, most parts being very pleasant. It is a different place even to that of 5-7 years ago.

To an outsider I'd say Dublin does have an air of a provincial British city in terms of its built environment; I can see it in the faces of tourists every day, but anyone who knows anything about these two nations will notice just how different Dublin is - on a host of levels, not least its architecture which has a uniquely Irish tinge to it, even if it has its roots in UK design.

To try to see the city from an outsider's perspective all you have to do is remember what you thought of the place as a child - it always works for me. In terms of the scale of the city, not knowing its history or its geography or its people, and in terms of defining the place through key buildings and the general blur of the streetscapes, a child's view comes very close to that of a newcomer.
Now unfortunately all I remember is a gritty, scary, smelly dump of a place littered with derelict sites and propped up buildings which doesn't bode to well for my theory, but that was quite a few years ago...

Sure Dublin's great :)
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Re: Dublin: it isn't that ugly

Postby Boyler » Mon Mar 28, 2005 12:31 pm

You're the only person to have agreed with me, Hickey.
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Re: Dublin: it isn't that ugly

Postby lunasa » Mon Mar 28, 2005 6:16 pm

Boyler I love your passion for one so young, there go I in the seventies. If you had been around then would your blood have boiled.Yes,indeed Dublin is an attractive city- but so much potential was lost because of gombeenism, and cowboy deals. Might I dare to add that the protagonist, said gombeen folk, and cowboys, were probably not born and bred in the city.
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Re: Dublin: it isn't that ugly

Postby Boyler » Mon Mar 28, 2005 6:23 pm

But with Ireland's growing economy and Dublin's growth in population and fame, isn't there potential for the city to become one of great modern and past architecture? All it takes is some vision. I hope my generation will be able to do this if others can't.
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Re: Dublin: it isn't that ugly

Postby Lincoln » Wed Mar 30, 2005 8:11 pm

this is an interesting thread- as someone who is a dubliner and left the country for economic reasons in the 80s(like so many of my generation) and then returned to my home town i have to say that it heartens me greatly that someone of Boyler's generation says that he loves Dublin.

i don't live in Dublin at the moment ,however, it gives me great joy to return to the city every other month or so and see how it is improving- the Luas, new bridges, new apartment buildings enabling people to live in the city, the HARP plan refurbishing O Connell Street , new bars, new restaurants and the people from all over the world thronging the busy and mostly pedestrianised streets-
There is a great deal of mispaced nostaglia for the Dublin pre- 60s- we hanker after the faded grandeur and forget the appalling sqaulor. The much maligned Ballymun Flats were built to house people who lived in appalling conditions in the former spendid georgian mansions we so fondly disremember-

the glory age of Georgian Dublin ended in the Act of Union 1800- the city went into decline from then in terms of building fabric and wealth and it is only now that we are turning it around with (mostly) appropriate and sensitive architecture-

when i was 15 Dublin looked like a bombed out city andTemple Bar was one big dark area of dereliction that was dangerous to walk through at night-(it might still be regarded as dodgey today with all the stag parties and all but at least people are having fun!)

cities grow and change and it is good to see that Dublin has not been preserved in apsic, but has gone through a period of decline(as happens all over the world) to come out looking good, friendly and maybe even intersting.
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Re: Dublin: it isn't that ugly

Postby PVC King » Wed Mar 30, 2005 9:10 pm

Lincoln no-one is saying that Dublin is a total dump and yes a lot of good things have happened such as Luas and the Boardwalk but equally some very bad decisions continue to be made such as procrastination on a proper rail system, planning decisions such as the Capel Building and the Kiosks on Grattan Bridge, not to mention the quantum of visual wallpaper that is sanctioned year on year.

The point is not what we have now it is what we destroyed ourselves as a City the first page of this thread is very interesting

http://www.archiseek.com/content/showthread.php?t=1814
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Re: Dublin: it isn't that ugly

Postby Lincoln » Wed Mar 30, 2005 10:54 pm

Thomond Park, there will always be poor planning decsions and poor examples of architecture to point out in any city in general , however , the visual environment in Dublin is greatly improved and is to be welcomed. you may say that no-one is saying that Dublin is a dump, however, that is not the case in general conversation and in parts of the media as outlined above by Boyler.

as for our lost georgian heritage , which was lost during the ruinious period of the 70s and 80s ( as outlined in Frank McDonalds book cited above) it is gone and gone forever. It is a great pity, however, we must not dwell on it, and we should focus on the rentention and approproate refurbishment of what is left.(which is quite substantial actually)

the georgian period architecture was the result of great wealth, confidence and the will of a few powerful men, who in creating a "modern " capital a mile east from it's medieval core transfomed the city . We are doing something similar now , but in a more modest and contextual manner as befits our pluralistic democracy and planning system based on equal rights of all citizens to object.

therefore, you may not like everything that is happening (or not happening)in Dublin , however, it is very positive in the most part.
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Re: Dublin: it isn't that ugly

Postby GrahamH » Wed Mar 30, 2005 11:05 pm

Is it just me or do people get the impression that increasingly nowadays, there's almost something of a relief that what was knocked was actually carried out, as it has paved the way for so many shiney new buildings today - whether they be reconditioned 70s offices, or newly developed derelict sites etc?

Also, that the new space generated not only allowed contempoary architecture to line the streets, but it also allowed the city to grow in the boom years - it was able to accommodate the savage appetite for office space and other commercial & retail demands.

It just seems increasingly like this, or is it just we've all moved on?
Anyone else get that impression?
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Re: Dublin: it isn't that ugly

Postby PVC King » Wed Mar 30, 2005 11:19 pm

I'm not so sure Graham

The IFSC, and the Jervis and Stephens Green shopping centres are about the only modern commercial buildings that people in great numbers ever speak positively about. Even the Central Bank divides people greatly, ask people about developments within their localities and you will very often hit a raw nerve particularly in relation to the lower grade of contemporary apartment development.
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Re: Dublin: it isn't that ugly

Postby GrahamH » Wed Mar 30, 2005 11:36 pm

I mean on a broader level really - that if the city had stayed pretty much as it was from 1955 onwards, filled with 'lovely old buildings', many of them nothing spectacular but would probably be protected anyway today - that there'd be a frustration at the lack of modern architecture represented on our streetscapes. That at least the 'weeding out' of some of the older stock, including an estimated 40% of the Georgian environment, enabled areas to redevelop, to become 'dynamic' and 'prime locations' etc.
I'm thinking not so much of the iconic demolitions like Fitzwilliam St etc, but more along the lines of Baggot St, Burlington Road, St. Stephen's Green, indeed so much of the southside including beyond the canal etc.

I suppose it's the estate-agent's speak if nothing else that's generating this impression - just gets annoying at times, like nothing ever happened.....then again you go through some areas and think how great they now look..
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Re: Dublin: it isn't that ugly

Postby PVC King » Wed Mar 30, 2005 11:51 pm

I see where you are going with Burlington Road and I would add the old RDS Cattle grounds now the AIB Bankcentre to that as being prime examples of good planning. I differ with Frank McDonald on Burlington Road no City can be sustainable with gardens that size so close to the centre of the Office district.

I don't go with Baggot St and Stephens Green was planning of the worst order as these areas have always been very much prime, you wouldn't expect the Bank of Ireland to locate its HQ just anywhere. This runs entirely contrary to urban economic theory which suggests that slightly sub-prime areas should have been developed as a spillover to functioning districts in boom times.

The best example of this is the Taunusanlage district of Frankfurt that was a genuine urban renewal project, it features cutting edge architecture from the 1960's 70's 80's 90's and early this decade. It was entirely outside the existing office district but became one of the leading financial districts in Europe. Most of the correct places for development were overlooked for 30 years and areas such as Burlington Road, Ballsbridge, IFSC, Barrow St and Grand Canal Quay only started perform in to the 1990's and the latest Docklands stuff going up is low on height and downright bland in some cases. For me the best commercial buildings in Dublin post 1960 are still phase 1 of the IFSC or Central Bank how sad is that?

Whats sums it all up for me is Clanwilliam Square that was developed in the late 1980's at two storeys when the site could have accomodated 7-8 storeys comfortably.

Going forward planning has to be monitored as closely as ever there are the fridges on Grattan Bridge there is also the vastly overscaled Capel Building which is an ugly lump in my opinion and was only successful becuase it had capital allowances. There was also a near miss with The Gaiety Centre and the recent loss of the Ormond Hotel.

Times haven't changed as much as some people think.
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Re: Dublin: it isn't that ugly

Postby GrahamH » Thu Mar 31, 2005 12:28 am

Thomond Park wrote:
I don't go with Baggot St and Stephens Green was planning of the worst order as these areas have always been very much prime, you wouldn't expect the Bank of Ireland to locate its HQ just anywhere. This runs entirely contrary to urban economic theory which suggests that slightly sub-prime areas should have been developed as a spillover to functioning districts in boom times.


But saying that - if Baggot Street was still intact, would you be in favour of the houses' demoltion if the BoI was proposed today? There'd be feckin uproar! Likewise with Burlington Road.
Or what about Morehampton Road or Northumberland Road so close to the CBD - would you be in favour of their total redevelopment today?

St. Stephen's Green south-east could probably have done with the 'reconditioning' though considering the apparently insignificant jumble of buildings on that corner.

Where is Capel Building?
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Re: Dublin: it isn't that ugly

Postby PVC King » Thu Mar 31, 2005 12:33 am

Graham,

The Ormond Hotel is about to be taken down with barely a whimper and an endorsement from ABP, outside the Squares and Upper Mount St can you get much more historical than Upper Ormond Quay in the view of Grattan Bridge?

The Capel Building is on the Junction of Capel St and St Marys Abbey it is 8 storeys over ground and has a huge footprint and virtually no design quality, red sandstone style composite panels, dark glass it is Houston Business Park c1978 in general appearance.
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Re: Dublin: it isn't that ugly

Postby JPD » Thu Mar 31, 2005 2:03 am

Is the glass half full or half empty?
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Re: Dublin: it isn't that ugly

Postby Lincoln » Thu Mar 31, 2005 10:47 am

graham/thomond park,

your debate seems to hinge around one basic point- should the city of dublin development happened outside the historic core(as in the Frankfurt example cited above, and many other examples in Europe, Paris, Amsterdam etc..) or in the city centre itself( London, Berlin)

my own view is that Dublin is too small to have two cores and i enjoy the fact that administrive, business , retail , social and most importantly residential life occurs in the city centre- Dublin is a vibrant living city because of this and i beieve that this is what is attractive to visitors rather than any grandeur.

in order to have this kind of town, then a lot of old stuff gets pulled down- and some of it regrettably- however most of it was dross and this makes the way for possibly better contemporary architecture.

however, a lot of what we are doing in replacing dross with dross- this has to be conceded, however, on balance, i think that the city has never looked better - it has a smile on its face rather than a frown
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Re: Dublin: it isn't that ugly

Postby weehamster » Thu Mar 31, 2005 10:50 am

Dublin isnt ugly, its just not clean. :(
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Re: Dublin: it isn't that ugly

Postby Boyler » Fri Apr 01, 2005 8:58 pm

I'm sure that there are worse places for litter in the country than Dublin.
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Re: Dublin: it isn't that ugly

Postby PVC King » Fri Apr 01, 2005 9:04 pm

Luckily there are a few towns in Ireland that are clean to Europan Norms as certified by IBAL (Irish Business Against Litter) but unfortunately the IBAL League has put Dublin in the bottom decile of the list for the last three years and they have a very rigorous system of testing, the findings are celebrated the clean towns of Ireland of which there are sadly no where near enough.

Read minister for State Batt O'Keefe

http://www.environ.ie/DOEI/DOEIPub.nsf/0/1099122a179dedb180256fb1003e4ce9?OpenDocument

The results Coutesy of Longford News

http://www.longford.ie/news.asp?id=74

(The table is at the bottom of the article)
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Re: Dublin: it isn't that ugly

Postby manstein » Tue Apr 05, 2005 4:32 pm

Just noticed this thread. I spent 3 years away from Dublin and am impressed by parts of the city. If you walk from Harcourt Luas stop towards the city you get a great view of Lesson street as it makes a slight right sweep. When there are no cars around you can just imagine been back in the 1800s with the tram tracks and old buildings. St Stephens green is still a great place and Grafton street is the ok even if it is just a commerical district. The traffic ruins the college green area around Trinity as people watch for cars rather than look around at what could be a really beautiful junction.
O'Connell street is magnificient with the new Spire and walking South it is a great foreground for the imposing four courts. Take the cars away and bring back the old buses and you are back in the 60's. I think O'Connell street now may contend to have one of the best main streets in Europe but this could only happen when it becomes less commercialised. I also was confused as to why there was no dedicated bike lane on it. Cycled down it the other day but couldn't quite enjoy the experience as didn't want the number 10 behind me to hit me.
Unfortunately the North side of Dublin has not improved much despite its close proximity to the city centre. Its has become more multicultural but i would love to see the old-red brick buildings been restored. I think it will happen but may take 10 years.

As a whole it is a joy to walk thru the city to work but if the traffic can be somewhat contained it would be much more a pleasant experience.
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Re: Dublin: it isn't that ugly

Postby Boyler » Sun Apr 10, 2005 2:06 pm

If you could, how would any of you improve Dublin?
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