garethace wrote:Indeed, as Beijing did use Canary Wharf's Canada tower as a direct reference. Arup Engineers describe the CCTV building as like 4 no. One Canada Square buildings, put together. If you can imagine it as doubled, with two horizontal Canada Square towers, top and bottom in the attached image.
phil wrote:It seems to me, and correct me if I am wrong, that many commentators outside of China have become obsessed with this building based purely on its iconic image
phil wrote:is this what we want for Dublin's docks?
Eh, what's so "moronic" about the above comment?? In terms of office space, which this thread is discussing, that's almost exactly what the CCTV building is. He's not referring to the visual appearance as I'm sure you realize (I hope)
garethace wrote: I think you will appreciate Ali Grehanâ€™s talk transcript of last May â€™08, when I get it online. Even though her talk was to do with BRL, Ballymun Regeneration Limited, she makes her points so well it is worth posting. Ali does refer at the end of her talk, with a deep sense of approval to this tower scheme proposed on North Wall Quay. I think her words were, â€˜I feel very encouraged by the West 8 projectâ€™. (Obviously a company name used for the North Wall Quay site) It appears as if DDDA were positive about the project. DCC were too. It appears as though everyone was feeling â€˜so encouragedâ€™. I cannot understand how we ended up where we are.
DDDA, a facilitator role rather than a design role. Old customs house authority, concerned a lot with cars and traffic management. In 1997, the Dublin Docklands Development Authority was formed. It’s remit was widened to social regeneration. The area has been widely developed with mixed use development. DDDA involvement in property, physical development of the city, building of infrastructure. Financial services centre, a catalyst for economic expansion in the past 15 years.
Working with the community. Rising tide of what goes on, integrate them into it. The urban void is not just spatial, it is also social. Projects for the community – social work. The way the space is layered, the social stratification. Throughout Docklands history, people who worked in these areas, also lived in the area. Docklands is a place which has been severed away from the rest of the city largely by infrastructure. The loop line, creates bridges, that are visually obstructive.
Water and spaces around the water. The reason for the city of Dublin is the river. Junction of not just the Liffey, but also the Dodder and the man made amenities of Poolbeg, Royal and Grand Canal. Canal docks were really extensions of the edge surface of the river. Railways of 1840s and 1850s made canals redundant. A lot of Docklands is built land. Dublin port deepened, and extended into the bay. Army surplus oil tanker, led to containerisation, Sealand company and ultimately to globalisation of trade. At the end of its previous life, large parcels of land were left, with industrial uses associated with them. Gasometer, the production of town gas. Light the streets of Dublin. Notice the the size of sites that developers acquire. Large chunks of land, which lend themselves to perimeter block development.
Looking at it in terms of the scale of the city – bridges. 12 bridges from Heuston Station to O’Connell St. From the customs house down, there aren’t very many bridges. If you were to implement a similar frequency of bridges, it would look something like this. (shows slide)
Public buildings in the docklands. Abbey Theatre, Georges Dock, National Conference Centre, Grand Canal Theatre, Point Theatre. Before 1978, the river was navigable as far as the Customs House, when the Matt Talbot bridge was completed. Customs house itself is severed by loop line and Matt Talbot bridge in 1978. Effectively putting it on a giant traffic island. DDDA engaging with traffic management at DCC. Loading/unloading of goods at customs house continued up until 1950s. At which time a granite wall was erected. (Which is now black) It contrasts badly in the view from across the river, with white limestone of customs house. The Customs house lost much of its floating quality of the original Gandon scheme. Board walks and campshires – connecting Customs house back to the river.
Dublin inner city is very hard. An idea of trees and gardens is missing from this part of the city. The campshires landscape is quite severe. Slide of quayside in Paris. Dutch landscape and master planning practice working with DDDA. Person able to walk all along the Royal canal from Roscommon. Docklands portion is the only bit one cannot walk. 2 no. new footbridges to tie across the river. Striking a balance with use of the river for navigational purposes. Lighting of space – tie it together and make it more attractive. Issue of safety. West 8 scheme, a cluster of office buildings. Canal to surround the project – introducing water into the depth of the North Lotts area. To create a different identity. Re-introduce a relationship back to the water.
Quotation: Every city has its its cracks. There are gaps in the urban form. Where overall continuity is disrupted. The residual space is left undeveloped, underused or deteriorated. The physical ties that purposefully or accidentally separate social worlds. The spaces which development has passed by. Or new development has created fragmentation and interruption.
The above quote is from a paper called ‘Cracks in the City’, 1996 by Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris. A paper which addresses constraints and potential of urban design. It echoes the theme of the Lisbon conference and what I am going to talk about now. Anastasia goes on in the paper to giver one example of a crack. Where public housing developments are fenced islands of poverty. Abandonement and deterioration have filled vacant spaces with thrash and human waste. That might sound a bit extreme, but it very much describes the Ballymun when we came along in 1997. Ballymun was very abruptly inserted into the landscape of north Dublin. It was conceived, commissioned and constructed in five years. From the government reviewing a report on system built housing in the early 60s, to building it in 1969, only five years had elapsed. It was quite stark. On it’s completion it was heralded as a new town. Although were some reservation expressed, where an anonymous writer said:
“Surely the integration (I use the word hopefully) of 12-15 thousand people is something that should be tackled from a planning point of view and not left to depend on a few mouldy old concrete sections”.
When we look at that and we thought about how we were going to present extremely complex project at the Lisbon conference, we decided to just try and tell the story in very simple graphics. Using figure ground diagrams and tenure diagrams. Through those diagrams, maybe just hint at the evolution of change, that had occurred since Ballymun was first conceived in the early 60s.
When we ask ourselves as a master planner, what do we do now? What went wrong? How do we put it right? Really, to my mind, it was simply a question of size. Or scale, or grain. Whichever word, grain would be the word commonly used. In the first instance, the first example of scale: of course the physical form of buildings and spaces. Lack of discussion between buildings and the spaces. In my mind, well designed buildings or spaces initiate or facilitate conversation. Between buildings, spaces and people who inhabit the spaces. There hasn’t been much of a conversation going on in Ballymun – if anything, if might call it a shouting match, if even that. Really, the question is, how do you find an appropriate scale?
I had to contact the curator at Tate Modern to get these images. He spoke at the Lisbon conference that a lot of us attended. He showed us the project which was for the first exhibition mounted in the turbine hall in the Tate. The Tate had been open for 2 years. Everyone was fabulously impressed with this amazing building. But in the main space they said where was the art? The curators didn’t know how they would introduce art into the turbine hall. So they decided they would have to meet this challenge. The curator decided to set up an exhibition of 25 sculptures, all scaled at a human scale. I think what he did is an excellent example of how you deal with scale and the transition of scale between something massive like the turbine hall – which has been described as a secular cathedral – and how you bring it down to a human scale. While also dealing with the practical issues. Like how do you protect the art? He didn’t want to put them on plinths. So he had to introduce layers and thresholds to actually achieve that.
This is one of our diagrams, which is a figure ground diagram. Really, it doesn’t make any sense. Because to understand the layout of Ballymun in 1997, what you need is a road network diagram. The location of the buildings do not really mean anything. Basically what we had to do is look at how you converted that diagram, completely invert it, into a more legible diagram – that would have properly enclosed space. We are well over half way through that process. John’s (McLoughlin) comment about landscaping the docklands is relevant here as well. I think since we have started we’ve planted over 2 or 3 thousand trees. I am not sure how many. But even that shows a huge improvement.
Another aspect of form which was to improve the scale, was the whole issue of permeability. Ballymun in 1997, the same as it was in 1977, was a roundabout at a deadend. Then either through accident or design, there is a completely impenetrable buffer zone separating the estate from the adjoining, existing 2 storey housing. We did diagrams showing how we would need to, and how we could plan to make Ballymun more permeable and connected to the adjoining areas. By 1997, the M50 had arrived and there was a junction. So inadvertedly, the M50 was one of the first ‘bringers’ of regeneration to Ballymun. Because then you had to drive through it to get someone from the airport. It is possibly why, people noticed how awful it was and then decided maybe we need to do something about this place.
Our ultimate goal is to connect it completely with the adjoining estates. The dotted line signifies cul-de-sacs. The solid lines are through-routes. This dotted line is completely innocuous, it is just a scribble. But it represents one of the most controversial issues facing the regeneration team. It signifies hours, weeks and months of heated negotiation, emergency meetings.
The second question of size which we looked at is tenure. When Ballymun was originally constructed it was 100% social housing. Which would be fine except it was so large. You are talking about 5,000 social housing units, which was fairly significant. The social housing tenants have all been able to buy out their houses. But they weren’t in a position to buy their flats. That is still the case. Over time, about half of the houses were bought out. But none of the flats could be bought out. By 1997, the tenure mix was 80% social and 20% private. Which is the complete opposite to what would be the national norm. so really the challenge is to completely invert that tenure mix. To 20% social and 80% private. It has actually been very difficult to achieve. Now you have a situation where most of the houses are social, and most of the apartments that have been springing up along main street are private. But over time it should evolve. But ultimately, the aim really is to enable people to take ownership of the space that is immediately outside their front door.
The third section I want to talk about is strategy. The question of size is the title of one of the essays in E.M. Schumacher’s book ‘Small is Beautiful’. In that chapter he talks about things like, how big should the city be, how big should the country be? In a further part he talks about large organisations. He accepts that it is completely inevitable. That there will be extremely large organisations. But he urges that the fundamental task is that to achieve smallness in large organisations. I think BRL, is an excellent example of that in practice. Because BRL was set up by Dublin City Council to implement the master plan. In hindsight, it would be impossible to see how it could have been done any other way. Because it needed that dedicated focus on the ground.
Another strategy worth noting is that whole strategy of the enabler of the new. It has been said that neighbourhood regeneration is one of the key components of urban renewal. It has also been said that the key to good government is grassroots involvement. In other words, good politics makes good places. It is also about clear ideas collaboratively realised. We are here in the civic offices, which is the civic heart of this new town of Ballymun.
Another installation which is on at the moment in the Tate Modern is Doris Salcedo, Shibboleth Oct 2007 - April 2008. A ‘shibboleth’ is a custom, phrase or use of language that acts as a test of belonging to a particular social group or class. By definition, it is used to exclude those deemed unsuitable to join this group. ‘The history of racism’, Salcedo writes, ‘runs parallel to the history of modernity, and is its untold dark side’. For hundreds of years, Western ideas of progress and prosperity have been underpinned by colonial exploitation and the withdrawal of basic rights from others. Our own time, Salcedo is keen to remind us, remains defined by the existence of a huge socially excluded underclass, in Western as well as post-colonial societies.
I am sorry to end on a serious note, but I think that represents a key challenge facing our city and the country. How do we integrate both culturally and physically. Niall (McCullough) talked about this threat, this perceived threat of tall buildings. Of course, we can discuss that. I don’t think myself that tall buildings are going to be threatening. I simply think what matters is how the buildings meet the ground, and how they talk to each other. But fundamentally, it is about integration.
I was at a very interesting conference last week. Nothing to do with architecture. It was an education conference. Doctor Dermot Martin spoke. What he was talking about mainly was how do we integrate? How do we make sure that there is cultural integration at secondary school level? He spoke about the problem of ghetto-isation. Not just of the poor, but also of the rich. This reaching for illusionary safe havens. I also heard Doc. Martin talk on the Late Late Show before Christmas. He spoke about the problem of new developments in the city centre. A lot of places, they are gated, they turned their back on the street. He wondered what kind of problems were going to arise from that. Where the people who lived, the new people, they had no connection with the street. They had no connection with neighbours. They possibly had no connection to each other. I think that is something we really have to think about. It is also a challenge for architects to find ways through design to ensure that that doesn’t happen. I think, doesn’t have to happen.
(Cartoon on final slide) Another issue which is facing us, is the increasing privatisation of public space. That must be looked at. Because obviously people want spaces to be well managed, so the immediate temptation is to hand it over to private companies to manage. In fact, to not take ownership to them at all. I was really encouraged to hear what John McLoughlin, John McLoughlin’s presentation last week. Where his architects were talking about the West 8 scheme. One of the things that they spoke, I suppose, very eloquently about was how this space to the river should be public. I was very encouraged by that. That, that was something which was so obvious to this group of architects. Ending on that note.
(Loud Applause from the audience at Ballymun Civic Centre)
reddy wrote:We need to aim at becoming a highly skilled, highly innovative economy at the forefront of new technology and business practices. To do this our infrastructure must enable it. So in this sense what is right for London, is right for Beijing, and IS right for Dublin. I'm not talking about architectural style or context here but means of allowing this development in business and economy.
A key message in this book is that the old monolithic multinational that creates value in a closed hierarchical fashion is dead. Winning companies today have open and porous boundaries and compete by reaching outside their walls to harness external knowledge, resources, and capabilities. Even the stodgy, capital-intensive manufacturing industries are no exception to this rule. Indeed, there is no part of the economy where this opening and blurring of corporate boundaries has more revolutionary potential.
I have found elegant tall buildings generally incorporate about 400 meters squared. Which gives them about four apartments per floor. In comparison with say buildings in Canary Wharf where the shape is around 40,000 sq. feet per floor. Those scale of buildings with very large floor plates, are sometimes very unhappy in how they puncture the skyline. Alot of the big banking HQ's will really be 15,000 sq. feet per floor. Less than half the size of those in Canary Wharf. Floor plates are sometimes very compact.
Dublin centre is to remain low rise, but if anything did puncture the skyline, it would need to be a strategic contribution to the city in terms of the economic or cultural or in terms of public amenity. It wouldn't damage the architectural legacy in terms of views, in terms of environmental qualities or in terms of creating preceedent. The role of the heart of the inner city as The centre of that city region and what it needs to be sucessful, you do need the city core to triumph! Looking back to the profile of the city in the middle ages, you did see churches puncturing the skyline. I think there still is a case to be made for acknowledging a central role or importance and announcing something special. And it would have to be something special, in terms of creating an exception.
Between human beings there is a type of intercourse which proceeds not from knowledge, or even from lack of knowledge, but from failure to know what isn't known. This was true of much of the discourse on the market. At luncheon in downtown Scranton, the knowledgeable physician spoke of the impending split-up in the stock of Western Utility Investors and the effect on prices. Neither the doctor nor his listeners knew why there should be a split-up, why it should increase values, or even why Western Utility Investors should have any value. But neither the doctor nor his audience knew that he did not know. Wisdom, itself, is often an abstraction associated not with fact or reality but with the man who asserts it and the manner of its assertion.
"Concerns about the cost of progress for traditional community and neighbourliness are examined in a very readable manner by Robert Putnam's book Bowling Alone,"
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DCC have been seriously misguided in their information regarding the needs of the modern enterprise! They are passing projects which are unsuitable for the creation of a modern knowledge economy in Ireland. Right there you have an example of what is poisonous about the Irish planning system. . . . (Note: Dick Gleeson was on the panel at the Tall Building conference a couple of years ago. . . where a Quantity Surveyor from Britain expounded his 'fat is happy' theory on high rise developments. Gleeson should have listened better on that occasion.
Brian O' Hanlon
Frank Duffy, chairman of DEGW, is an advocate of the flexible office. His theories could redefine office buildings of the future. Frank believes that UK developers do not consider the impact of radical changes in working practices on the office market. He believes that flexible workspace can save the occupier money and adapt to changing working practices. He feels that the factory office environment where workers perform routine set tasks is in decline, and a type of 'club style of office is emerging.
The internal depth of 15m gives optimal flexibility with reasonable quality daylighting, and a sense of view to the outside. Increasing the building depth above 15m tends to lead to the perception of a “deep plan building”. A 12m depth floorplate would in general be too small unless a very substantial amount of cellular academic office space was required.
Townsend advised developers to design office blocks "from the inside out" rather than focus on exterior design.