O' Connell Street, Dublin

Re: O' Connell Street, Dublin

Postby gunter » Thu Jun 09, 2011 9:36 am

I think it's time that Dublin City do the decent thing and employ Graham to sort out the city.
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Re: O' Connell Street, Dublin

Postby StephenC » Thu Jun 09, 2011 10:07 am

Yes a lovely building. Displays some of the best qualities of the rebuilt O'Connell Street. Lets hope it doesn't stay vacant for too long and, as you say, its new owners realise its undoubted potential.
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Re: O' Connell Street, Dublin

Postby gunter » Thu Jun 09, 2011 1:08 pm

two other images of the Eden Quay corner;

Image
from the early 1940s with a no. 3 tram in the foreground
Image
and from the late '60s or early 70s

In both views, the building retains its original dark painted window frames, as pointed out by Graham, and sports a scripted 'Player's Please' sign at parapet level.

I know I'll be shot for this, but I quite like well crafted signage at sky line level like this. The dodgy Jacobs Cream Cracker sign next door on the other hand had to go.
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Re: O' Connell Street, Dublin

Postby StephenC » Thu Jun 09, 2011 2:18 pm

Ready...
Aim....

FIRE!
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Re: O' Connell Street, Dublin

Postby Peter Fitz » Thu Jun 09, 2011 2:27 pm

gunter wrote:I think it's time that Dublin City do the decent thing and employ Graham to sort out the city.


Graham Hickey, Dublin's first directly elected Mayor perchance? :clap:

Something quite appealing about the Players Please sign alright gunter, i've always liked it, not that you'd dream of errecting anthing of its ilk today of course *cough*
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Re: O' Connell Street, Dublin

Postby Paul Clerkin » Fri Jun 10, 2011 4:10 am

Didn't it look sharp with the dark painted windows - very sophisticated.

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Re: O' Connell Street, Dublin

Postby GrahamH » Thu Jun 16, 2011 12:42 am

Ha - I knew this would pop up! Of course the unacknowledged fact with most illuminated or neon signage (the above distingushed example excluded) is that it looked totally rubbish during the day, with their grid frame support structures and cabling mauling facades. The smoky romanticisim only emerged after dark!

Number 1 O'Connell Street was a vertiable billboard back then in gunter's second picture - no less than five advertising signs stuck all over it.

The removed Irish Nationwide signage was quite old - erected in 1968. It had been refurbished three times since erection (a 1978 photogtaph I have shows the lettering in a more distinguished orange colour).

Short Irish Independent piece on it here.

http://www.independent.ie/business/iris ... 62676.html
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Re: O' Connell Street, Dublin

Postby Paul Clerkin » Thu Jun 16, 2011 12:14 pm

God I remember the orange, was it the same lettering?
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Re: O' Connell Street, Dublin

Postby gunter » Thu Jun 16, 2011 12:38 pm

Great b+w picture of the neon signs reflected in the still waters of the Liffey, very thrench coat and atmospheric.

Have we any decent shots of O'Connell St. with the random roof-top search lights from a couple of years ago. I really liked that.

I know it was light pollution and energy wastage and all of that, but it added another dimension and it was harmless fun.
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Re: O' Connell Street, Dublin

Postby Paul Clerkin » Thu Dec 22, 2011 8:26 pm

395511_2845622230206_1548910670_32746578_640432544_n.jpg

O'Connell Bridge losing its hump
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Re: O' Connell Street, Dublin

Postby apelles » Sun Dec 25, 2011 10:19 pm

There must be a larger uncropped version of this one, somewhere out there in cyberspace.

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Re: O' Connell Street, Dublin

Postby Paul Clerkin » Mon Jan 09, 2012 2:05 pm

From Saturday's Irish Times
Controversy over plans to redevelop Henry St corner

AN BORD Pleanála is due to decide soon on controversial plans to replace five individual shop buildings on the corner of Henry Street and O’Connell Street, in Dublin city centre, with a single retail unit suitable for a chain store.

One of the principal arguments made by appellants against Dublin City Council’s decision to grant permission for the scheme is that it would result in the demolition or significant alteration of buildings that were present during the 1916 Rising.

The plan, submitted by Percy Nominees – a pension fund run by Allied Irish Investment Managers – would involve demolishing numbers 32 and 33 Henry Street and the partial demolition of 31 Henry Street, as well as 68 and 69 O’Connell Street Upper.

Two of the Henry Street buildings, dating from the 18th and 19th centuries, would be replaced by a three-storey retail unit described by objectors as “bland” and “monolithic” while the O’Connell Street buildings would be stripped of their painted render.

“This proposal will entail squeezing out five smaller retailers which are currently trading and employing between 20 and 30 people directly, and also others in security, cleaning and local supplies,” said Colm Sorensen, managing director of Butlers Chocolates, one of the shops affected.

“The thought of demolishing 18th and 19th-century buildings that survived and witnessed the 1916 Rising simply because they have been slightly altered over the years is preposterous and completely misses the point of the preservation of heritage sites.

“It is accepted that it is the job of pension funds to maximise the value of their assets and it is the job of architects to serve their clients. It is hoped that it is the job of planners to recognise this and to protect this most historic architectural conservation area,” he said.

An Taisce, which has also appealed against the council’s decision, noted that the site is “one of the most prominent locations in the city centre, next door to the GPO and the Spire”, as well as being part of the O’Connell Street Architectural Conservation Area (ACA).

“By removing two reusable historic buildings of character and merit in order to create a large retail unit, the proposal would weaken and undermine the special architectural character of the area which the ACA sets out to protect,” according to Kevin Duff of An Taisce.

Manahan Planners, acting for Korkys and the Body Shop – located in GPO Buildings on Henry Street – said the scheme would “destroy the existing ‘local sense of place’ built up by largely local traders over many decades in favour of an ‘anywhere’ retail proposal”.

Planning consultants John Spain Associates argued on behalf of the applicants that Dublin City Council’s policy to withstand competition from out-of-town shopping centres is to facilitate the creation of larger units in the city centre for “higher-order retailing”.

Their submission included a report by real estate consultants Colliers International, supporting the development. But David Fitzsimons, chief executive of Retail Excellence Ireland, said this report “promotes a retail planning template which has in fact failed in the UK”.

Mr Sorensen noted that the recent review of the state of UK high streets, compiled for the British government by retail expert Mary Portas, referred to “Clone Town Britain” where every street looked the same and the “unique DNA of our towns” was being lost.

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ire ... 91644.html
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Re: O' Connell Street, Dublin

Postby StephenC » Thu Apr 18, 2013 10:20 pm

O'Connell Street has fared better than expected through the recession given it recent history. Apart from the obvious Chartered Land site, vacancy is low on the street and standards have remained relatively high. It's worth noting a few changes on the street recently and some planning permissions.

The terrace of four Georgian houses on Bachelors Walk for an iconic view onto the street but you would never think of it given their poor condition and hotchpotch of gaudy colours.

Permission has just been granted by Dublin City Council for a restoration of the original granite shopfront to No 32 (which was last known as Candy) and it will be very interesting to see such an ambitious proposal executed. I wonder at it...to be honest it seems worthy but wrong and I am not sure it will make for the attractive modern shop or restaurant that this site needs.

http://www.dublincity.ie/swiftlg/apas/r ... ts%3C/a%3E

Next door, permission was sought to restore the upper floors of 33-34 Bachelors Walk wrapping around to 56 Lower O'Connell Street. This proposal includes the very welcome removal of all the shit signage, girders and utilities etc that has accumulated on this front for much of the past 100 years. A cafe at ground floor (already in place) and continued use in upper floors. Trouble is they want to then stick a 10x5m corner LED advertisement onto the front to replace the Nokia sign etc.

http://www.dublincity.ie/swiftlg/apas/r ... ts%3C/a%3E

A split decision has been given by the PA with permission for the restoration works but refusal for the new advertising. It's quite bizarre that they even thought it would be acceptable. It looked awful! What are people thinking in this city.

So with no advertisement revenue to be had I imagine the applicant will shy away from
refurbishing the upper floors. The trouble is that there is enforcement action against the Nokia signs and they are likely to have to do something.

Opposite 56 is the former Irish Nationwide head office which has been vacant for a couple of years. There is now a (quite smart) currency exchange shop in place. Can I just ask...who uses these anymore?

Supermacs is still an disaster begging for an interested planning enforcement officer. They just can't stop adding. The Westmoreland Street one is even worse and now Supermacs have opened in Temple Bar.

Image[/URL]

Next we come to Chartered Land site. Getting grubbier by the day (as I mentioned elsewhere re Moore Street). Littered with site notices, nobody is cleaning windows...all the upper floors are empty. Today a new Chinese restaurant was installing brash signage to the front of the former Fingal offices...10 Thousands Restaurant. I rushed for the laptop thinking this must be unauthorised. But no, it got permission earlier this year. A temporary 3-year permission. I suppose little else is going to happen to this site for a while yet.

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Re: O' Connell Street, Dublin

Postby Peter Fitz » Fri Apr 19, 2013 8:34 am

"10 Thousand Restaurant" given 3 years permission, bringing us nicely up to 2016.

Just the thing to mark the centenary.

I believe Collins was partial to the odd 'B Special'.
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Re: O' Connell Street, Dublin

Postby GrahamH » Fri Apr 19, 2013 11:49 am

:clap:

Yes I saw this plan go through a while back. I suppose a restaurant is a restaurant - the ASPC doesn't specifiy all-you-can-eat buffet carts... But signage is specified, and that signage is shocking. How is this stuff still getting through?! The sad thing is that in spite of the rampant proliferation of Chinese eateries in the city, and all the new focus by business groups and enterpise sections in DCC wooing the Chinese business community, bizarrely there's barely a decent Chinese restaurant amongst them. Where on earth would you even bring a Chinese person for an authentic meal in a decent environment in Dublin? You find better family-run Chinese restaurants in the average provincial town than in Dublin.

The two major planning cases for Bachelors Walk are show-stopping, flagship proposals that have the potential to change the very image of Dublin city centre on an international level. How there was no public comment on these as they were going through utterly defies me. The lethargy in Dublin at the minute is of some concern. Still, even though there should be a masterplan for this strategically important terrace, there were glimmers of joined-up thinking here with the planner referencing the simultaneous applications and the need to reference each other.

The clanger in the works for the Nokia signage application was the revelation that this sign, including in its original Baileys form, has had no planning permission since 2000, when its temporary permission expired from a grant in 1997. Yet the planning authority, with every planning tool conceivable in its armoury, did absolutely nothing to rid this terrace of the unauthorised junk tacked about protected facades of one of the most prominent locations in the country - and this in spite of their own multiple planning objectives to do so. So not only have we had to put up with this eyesore, the owner has creamed off what can only amount to at least a million euro on the back of the city, and is now claiming that new signage is required to make restoration of the buildings viable! What a farce. The money he’s earned could have paid for twenty full-time planners to clean up the entire city centre, never mind O’Connell Street.

The detail of the planning decision here is unclear to me on a number of levels. It seems the conditions dictate that a revised shopfront design based on a Wide Streets Commission model be reinstated here, but this is not referenced in the report itself. Similarly, it is conditioned that ‘render may be stripped’ to the upper floors, but it doesn’t specify which building – it seems to suggest the corner post-1916 rendering, even though this wasn’t proposed. Painting is also mentioned, but again it’s unclear if this is the brickwork of the neighbouring building or the rendered building. To be honest, I’m glad this has been kept loose as this all needs to be kept firmly in the hands of conservation guidance, but a fresh planning application with very specific proposals would be more desirable.

Ultimately, the idea here is to reinstate the entire arcaded Wide Streets Commission series of shopfronts across the entire group of buildings, which I believe will work exceptionally well as a unit - not as well fragmented. If everyone is on a level playing field then commercially the terrace has strong potential to be a success – particularly with the wide pavement outside. It is also an aspiration to return all of the upper facades to their 1780s exposed brick, but this is fraught with technical complications and needs to be carefully considered. It was a central part of both of the recent applications, either to strip render, add render, or repair/paint render, but much more joined-up thinking is required. This is also where a National Lottery Heritage Fund is so useful, if it existed.

As we speak, new 1780s sash windows have just been installed on the westernmost property following on from unauthorised works last year when nasty clunky double-glazed sashes went in. They look great. The intention with this building is to trial render removal and/or in the meantime paint it a nice muted colour of c.1900 date. The WSC shopfront will take some structural planning to ensure the upper facade is correctly supported.
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Re: O' Connell Street, Dublin

Postby StephenC » Fri Apr 19, 2013 10:45 pm

Well lets not count our chickens just yet Graham. This is the terrace today:

Image

A couple of things to note. The big canvas advertising that went up in the last couple of days on the front to add to Nokia et al. The shocking pink shopfront of the new sew and mend business that opened last week (with no planning permission for shopfront changes). The refurbished shopfront of the former Elverys/then newsagent/now Max cafe.

Suffice to say, I think you'll be waiting a while for your coordinated rusticated granite shopfronts along the full terrace.

The planning decision is messy. I reckon the condition that mentions the replicated Georgian shopfront to No. 34 is a cut and paste error by the planner. It may well be clarified in the Final Grant.

I think you overstate the significance of improving this terrace. It would be welcome to improve the terrace certainly, but as the humble postcard is in demise, I think its unlikely to radically alter people's perceptions of our fine city.

Across the way, the new currency converters in 1 O'Connell Street has put up new signage - without planning.
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Re: O' Connell Street, Dublin

Postby StephenC » Fri Apr 19, 2013 10:51 pm

Oh and around the corner at 55 O'Connell Street (Hickeys Pharmacy - a dodgy clan if ever there was one) all that plastic muck went up a few months back for some beauticians. The irony is lost somewhere over Dublin Bay. Another enlightened landlord there...
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Re: O' Connell Street, Dublin

Postby rumpelstiltskin » Sat Apr 20, 2013 3:21 am

StephenC wrote:Well lets not count our chickens just yet Graham. This is the terrace today:
A couple of things to note. The big canvas advertising that went up in the last couple of days on the front to add to Nokia et al. The shocking pink shopfront of the new sew and mend business that opened last week (with no planning permission for shopfront changes). The refurbished shopfront of the former Elverys/then newsagent/now Max cafe.

Suffice to say, I think you'll be waiting a while for your coordinated rusticated granite shopfronts along the full terrace.

The planning decision is messy. I reckon the condition that mentions the replicated Georgian shopfront to No. 34 is a cut and paste error by the planner. It may well be clarified in the Final Grant.

I think you overstate the significance of improving this terrace. It would be welcome to improve the terrace certainly, but as the humble postcard is in demise, I think its unlikely to radically alter people's perceptions of our fine city.

Across the way, the new currency converters in 1 O'Connell Street has put up new signage - without planning.


I have to disagree with this. Maybe it's just my obsession, but I think this terrace is the worst thing in the whole of Dublin city centre. It's a combination of its prominent location and the egregiousness of its aesthetic crimes that does it for me. It's supposed to be a gateway to O'Connell St, "the premier street of the nation". What does it say about us as a country, then, that this is what the entrance to it looks like.

In fact it's so important, that the city needs to provide a financial incentive to get that original brickwork exposed. That rendering of the corner building is a complete aesthetic disaster, regardless of how long it's been there. It makes the whole area seem shabby and grey, and really drags down O'Connell St and Bachelors Walk. It should be removed, or at the very least painted over - but the former option is of course by far the more desirable.
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Re: O' Connell Street, Dublin

Postby Peter Fitz » Sat Apr 20, 2013 10:35 am

rumpelstiltskin wrote:I have to disagree with this. Maybe it's just my obsession, but I think this terrace is the worst thing in the whole of Dublin city centre. It's a combination of its prominent location and the egregiousness of its aesthetic crimes that does it for me. It's supposed to be a gateway to O'Connell St, "the premier street of the nation". What does it say about us as a country, then, that this is what the entrance to it looks like.

In fact it's so important, that the city needs to provide a financial incentive to get that original brickwork exposed. That rendering of the corner building is a complete aesthetic disaster, regardless of how long it's been there. It makes the whole area seem shabby and grey, and really drags down O'Connell St and Bachelors Walk. It should be removed, or at the very least painted over - but the former option is of course by far the more desirable.


+1.

Targeted financial incentives to encourage sensitive restoration, and they'll have to be significant, are in reality the only way any substantial progress can be made on sites such as this.

A more enlightened approach may eventually develop, but in the short term, it's all about the money.
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Re: O' Connell Street, Dublin

Postby GrahamH » Sat Apr 20, 2013 4:11 pm

Couldn't agree more. I've long held that this terrace is completely pivotal on both a local streetscape and a macro city level. Not only is it critical to the scenography of the O'Connell Bridge district and the entrance to O'Connell Street, but by virtue of its prominent location at the 'crossroads of the nation', it also has an immense role to play in providing a coherent statement about the very character and identity of the city itself.

The O'Connell Bridge nexus is a problematic space. The bridge and the surrounding quay roads are too broad and too exploded to simply be host to acres of tarmac – they are windswept and lacking in enclosure. The vistas both east and west are disappointing, and there is an overwhelming sense of visual chaos and an absence of design coordination in the buildings and the public realm. The enclosure of the surrounding buildings is generally acceptable, but the architectural disunity here, for such a critical place in the city, has always lent an unfortunate impression of lack of civic pride and general discordance. Upon arrival in the heart of Dublin, you have to ask yourself – is this it? Where’s the evidence of the Enlightenment principles that originally brought this landscape into being? How does the urban landscape here represent us? To be honest, it might as well be a third rate UK city or some dull Canadian provincial capital.

Nonetheless, the hodgepodge of buildings surrounding the formal composition of O’Connell Bridge can also be validly perceived as a built manifestation of the city’s history and architectural evolution, whether it be the 1960s O’Connell Bridge House, the 1920 Irish Nationwide corner or O’Callaghan’s Chance at the apex of Westmoreland Street and D’Olier Street. What is a shame however is the gaping absence of any building or terrace that represents the eighteenth-century heritage of the city – namely, the iconic brick façade with gridded sash windows. The reproduction Ballast Office makes a grim attempt, but otherwise there is nothing to give an indication that Dublin is essentially a Georgian city - a grievous shame for such a critical location. Ironically, the reproduction Zoe blocks on Bachelor’s Walk are one of the most important group of buildings in the city in this respect. Like or loathe their detailing, they are a critical player to providing clarity and coherence to Dublin’s identity.

And yet at O’Connell Bridge we actually have an original Wide Streets Commission terrace – the genuine article, the real deal - sitting there, hidden from view, languishing beneath a blanket of accretions. To get this terrace back to its original form, even if it means having to replace entire swathes of delaminated brick, should be as high an aspiration as transforming College Green back to a civic space. I rank it that highly in its importance to Dublin.

There are keynote buildings, streetscapes and spaces in all cities that establish a baseline character and identity, and this terrace is Dublin’s benchmark. Every conceivable effort should be made to get it right.
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Re: O' Connell Street, Dublin

Postby Paul Clerkin » Mon Apr 22, 2013 7:00 pm

This shows the corner shop facade

wm_Clothes and shopsEden Quay Dublin-1.jpg
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Re: O' Connell Street, Dublin

Postby gunter » Mon Apr 22, 2013 8:11 pm

Fully agree with rumpel, Peter Fitz and Graham on this. Nothing says; - we've just stop trying - quite like that wretched corner

Image

and yet it had a presentable neatness in it's original Wide-Streets-Commissioners form.
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Re: O' Connell Street, Dublin

Postby GrahamH » Tue Apr 23, 2013 12:23 am

It should be noted - as evidenced in gunter's image above - that the terrace wasn't entirely unified. In typically pragmatic, eighteenth century Dublin form, only the five bays closest to the O'Connell Street corner were composed into a single 'pavilion' unit, matching that of the other five-bay building on the opposing Eden Quay corner. The remaining two buildings on Bachelors Walk were an afterthought, neither matching the neighbouring pavilion by way of roof detail, fenestration or even window size in the case of the first and second floors. The equivalent 'tack-on' buildings on Eden Quay were more successful in this respect, apparently being built by the one builder with a single shallow pitch roofline - thus the pavilion and its neighbours almost read as one. They're pictured below with various Victorian signage accretions, hence the darker appearance, but you get the idea.

Image

We probably don't need to rehearse the usual points about the matching tripartite windows with bracketed cornices on the pavilions facing O'Connell Street, but a little noted feature was the rather limp cornice that adorned the top of the central window of the first floor facades fronting the river. This is an original - if bizarre - WSC feature as it originally featured on both pavilions, including, to more successful effect, on the O’Connell Street elevation at second floor level. Granite quoins also adorned the corners of the blocks – indeed all street corners up O’Connell Street – hence the oddly stranded quoins in the middle of the Bachelors Walk terrace which still survive today.

The fact that the five-bay pavilions were incredibly shallow buildings, being only one room deep, and that they were only five bays wide and not nine or ten to present fully formal compositions to the river, is an indication of the reluctance of the WSC to interfere in private property where they weren't expressly required. Aside from setting the building line of the quay, they reserved their strict architectural guidance only for the approximate depth of the buildings on O'Connell Street - namely five bays.

As to the shopfronts here, it would appear that the five-bay pavilions did not conform to the semicircle - semi-ellipse - semicircle - semi-ellipse format of the shopfronts on O'Connell Street, as depicted below from a working drawing of the WSC dated 1789.

Image

Every image we have, including Shaw's Pictorial Directory of 1850 (if a bit stunted in that instance), shows five uniform arches on the Bachelors Walk pavilion - the O'Connell Street elevation obviously having been altered by this point. (Also note the window cornice at first floor level)

Image

It appears elliptical arches only were deployed on the pavilion section. It's possible this is a nineteenth century makeover, not unlike The Cornerstone on Wexford Street, but it seems to be original as the thin detailing looks correct.

Image

Famously, this corner got a hammering in 1916, hence the application of render over the pockmarked brickwork. This is the greatest challenge facing the removal of the render today, also not disregarding the handsome dentilated cornice of the same vintage. It's still well worth doing though.
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Re: O' Connell Street, Dublin

Postby GrahamH » Wed Apr 24, 2013 11:50 am

The more one considers this terrace, the bigger a joke it gets. The very image of the city is being persistently undermined here, in spite of the signage not having planning permission, in spite of being officially designated for removal under a statutory Area of Special Planning Control and an Architectural Conservation Area, and in spite of negatively impacting on the character of Protected Structures. It is such an unholy mess, one would be forgiven for thinking it a Photoshop job.

Image


And yet another Photoshop job tells a thousand words in terms of the impact of reinstating the original end pavilion (lead downpipe optional).

Image


The wider view from O'Connell Bridge. What a transformative effect.

Image

Immediately, a coherent Georgian context and legibility is restored to the setting of the bridge. All that is required is a comprehensive reshaping of the public realm (planned for Luas BXD) to radically alter our perceptions of this critical space in the city

Taking in the adjacent pair of houses - and acknowledging that none of this is without technical challenges - the very image of O'Connell Street, the Liffey quays and the ceremonial spine of the city is reshaped.

Image

Of course we'd ditch the Victorian plate windows, and a handful more chimneys wouldn't go amiss. But this is achievable if the will and, fundamentally, an undertanding of the built form of Dublin was there to do it. Alas, this stuff just isn't trendy enough, is it?
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Re: O' Connell Street, Dublin

Postby gunter » Wed Apr 24, 2013 12:08 pm

That single intervention to the city would be so calming and civilized, it's almost scary.

They'll never go for it now Graham!
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