Ah the glib remarks are always the most pluckable aren't they
. . . . if scenarios such as staying put, George's Dock, GPO or Hawkins were proferred, we might stimulate a wider debate on this.
I suppose I've got to eat this humble pie, do I?
Ok, I shouldn't have been glib, . . . moving the Abbey to the GPO is a serious idea and we need more people like David Norris to care enough about the city and it's significant institutions to take the time to push new ideas into the public arena.
I can understand how people could see this proposal as a match made in heaven, a great building looking for a new use to maintain it's significance into the future (in an era when a post office has become a hatch in the back of a Spar) and a great institution (cough)
looking to finally get itself a fitting building, but it would be a move that gives us less
than we have at the moment. We start out with two city icons and we end up with one city icon that doesn't know which it is!
Assuming that the Abbey has to move, and you hear different views on that, there are actually a huge number of options for where it could move to, with more appearing every day. Graham's idea of moving it to the site of Hawkin's House is a great one, but it probably lacks the 'revenue neutral' attribute that everything needs at the moment.
In the light of the current proposal to redevelop the Liberty Hall site, another idea would be to propose a land swap. The fact is that, unless we're creative about it, we'll never get rid of a tall building from the Liberty Hall site, so we're either stuck with the 1960s Liberty Hall, which gains heritage value with every passing year, or we allow it's replacement by something that, for a time, will be equally shiny and new, only bigger and bulkier inevitably.
Google view of the Abbey St. / Eden Quay block with the Abbey Theatre at the top left and Liberty Hall at the bottom right.
I personally wouldn't have the same reservations about a tall structure (a new Liberty Hall) on the Abbey Theatre site, that I have about constructing another, taller, structure on the current Liberty Hall site, and the latter, if a bit of road surface was taken in, would be a potentially magnificent site for a new Abbey Theatre.
Could you sell the idea to SIPTU? . . . . they'd be reluctant for sure, but after two or three planning refusals they might sit down with you around the table.
I think the Abbey / GPO issue shows up the need for an 'Ideas Dept.' in DCC. We shouldn't have to rely on David Norris, or Archiseek, to come up with ideas and then wait years for the necessary heads to be knocked together, the City Council should want to do this itself.