jimg wrote:Whether recreation is justified depends to a degree on whether you value what will have to be destroyed to accommodate it.
That is a crucial point. There is the issue of the ethics of reconstruction in the first place, and then there is the seperate issue of whether you can justify the demolition of what's there now to create the reconstruction opportunity.
jimg wrote:I've never admired the current facade. It is repetitive suggesting a weak attempt to respect the rhythm of the Georgian Terrace but missing the point entirely without any vital variation. It's boring and bland - neither rudely functional nor brashly modern. It's all staid semi-state comfort; it looks like the sort of place that is going to have carpet tiles covering everything.
I don't know if I'd entirely agree with that. I think for the ESB block to have been a really great building, something in the rhythm of the facade needed to vary, but it has a certain power, and it doesn't actually overwhelm the surrounding Georgian context, which, in fairness to Stephenson/Gibney, can't have been an easy thing to do.
Nobody now disputes that the original ESB decision was wrong! . . . . It was an urban crime of the highest order, but despite some later attempts by Bord na MÃ³na on Pembroke Street, that model, (the tearing down of Georgian houses to build corporate office blocks), wasn't permitted again on this scale and the coherence of the 'South Georgian Core'
at least, largely survives.
jimg wrote:Across the lane, you have the great Bank of Ireland block - an exciting expression of modern architecture.
OK, we'll agree to disagree on that, whatever about the actual architectural merits of the ESB block, at least it was an 'original' work and not a scale model, but to take up your point on proximity, there is a case to be made that these two corporate blocks together, (the ESB and the Bank of Ireland), create (or could if they tried) the nucleus of a modern/contemporary cluster here, right in the heart of the 'South Georgian Core'
Perhaps in this case, instead of looking to what we've lost, and justifyably seeking restitution, there is a case to be made for looking at this modernist cluster as a work in progress and see whether one or two more interventions might make the whole thing work on a really urban level.
Punctuating that monotony in the ESB facade with a laneway terminating in the vista of the narrow facade of the tallest Bank of Ireland block would be one idea that comes to mind. Such a new pedestrian route could open into some kind of shared plaza on James's Street East, defined by the Miesian Bank blocks on one side and some contemporay towers on the backlands of the ESB site on the other.
I don't know, maybe we should just put back the 16 Georgian houses;)