The lost opportunity for Grafton Street of a correctly restored former West jewellers is heart-breaking. The ignorance of even the basic design of the city’s historic building stock, never mind its nuances, amongst property owners, occupiers and the planning authority, reaches nauseating proportions when a flagship building on Grafton Street can be treated in the manner that it has.
Simply put, this hideously ignorant, expressionless lumpen mass...
...could and should be this. A beautiful brick building with all the texture and mellowed sophistication of a two hundred year old handcrafted facade.
As elegantly presented by Marks & Spencer further down the street. Indeed, the former West building would be even more elegant, with red brick elevations, fine wigged pointing, window reveals with subtle whispers of lime-feathered reveals, the potential for delicate tracery of late Georgian sashes, and a handsome shopfront with low, charming proportions. What we now have is a travesty in the context of the street’s Architectural Conservation Area designation, its prestige as the foremost shopping street of the city, and considering the amount of money spent for such spectacularly poor effect.
As gunter mentioned, beautiful brickwork of c. 1800 with fine jointing was presented in virtually immaculate condition when the render was comprehensively stripped off the building during the summer. The planning drawings only specified ‘repair/replacement where necessary’.
The brick had previously been painted, hence its good condition under the render.
Once the quality of the brickwork was exposed, every conceivable effort was made by third parties to ensure its repair and exposure under ACA legislation, but every stroke fell on deaf ears. Simply put, when the planning and development section of the planning authority is not interested, statutory legislation is ignored.
Likewise, pre-emptive warnings that all the historic windows in the building were going to be dumped, based on onserved precedent elsewhere, were also ignored. Therefore twelve historic sash windows, on Grafton Street, in 2011, were thrown in a skip. This is the level we're functioning at in Dublin.
The former elegant sashes.
The new Disney sashes, which in no way accord with the original design, with double-glazed units, chunky timber members, inappropriate generic Victorian horns, and no less than plastic parting beads.
Again, a reminder, Grafton Street, in 2011.