What's the verdict?
Personally, I've been resisting the whole Poolbeg thing, mostly because Poolbeg in isolation does nothing to redress the city's under-performing relationship with the bay IMO.
However, as presented by Martin Biewenga this evening, the case for a poolbeg quarter, as a joined up extension of Ringsend, did look quite convincing.
You knew that, as a Dutchman, Biewenga was gagging at the bit to expand his brief and polderize the Shelley Banks and you felt that a little bit of him died when he was informed that Sandymout Strand was an untouchable EU protection zone, but still he managed to conjour up beach huts, prominades, coastal squares, linear parks and a whole new urban district where today we just see power stations and sewage treatment plants.
I particularly liked his idea of exposing the old Great South Wall as one edge of a canal separating a denser urban strip running along the edge of the Liffey from the industrial core along the spine of Poolbeg
Roofing over the sewage treatment works to creat a public park might be pushing it a bit far, but then again, under ground is where sewage wants to be.
Earlier, there was a slide sequence on a project aimed at 'greening' the campshires, which again looked sensible and unpretentious, although I detected a fleeting appearance of the 'Liffey Island' in one of his slides, which passed without comment.
It didn't start out this way, the first twenty minutes dealt with the roofed-over route of a motorway through the centre of Madrid and a year long, Europe-wide, search for deformed pine trees! At this point, the evening threatened to turn weird with disturbing images of red, bull horn shaped, tree crutches proping up horribly twisted pine trees, and foot bridges that resembled walking under the skeleton remains of whales, closely followed by images of a related project to turn Madrid's Avenue Portugal psychedelic with pink cherry trees and swirling pavement patterns.
Thankfully, the Dublin projects brought comparative sobriety and near the end of the two hour lecture, and after natural selection had thinned the audience of the less committed and the weak bladdered, Biewenga turned to a couple more international projects in Palma and finally Toronto.
The Toronto scheme looked particularly interesting and it also produced the most memorable quotes. On the existing Toronto lake-front, dense with 'iconic' monuments from the CNN tower down, Biewenga commented that: ''Architects with honourable ambitions had messed up the whole area''. He also drew attention to the 'Anglo-Saxon' need to install safety railings all over his wavy lake shore terraces.
All in all, a good evening, be interested to hear what other people made of it.