Grafton Street, Dublin

Re: Grafton Street, Dublin

Postby StephenC » Thu Mar 29, 2012 11:50 am

I don't think anyone would disagree with you Cathal. Its because so many can see the potential of the street and are concerned at how the falling standards of some affect the overall quality for everyone that we moan. :-)

I wandered about Dublin yesterday and it was fab, in the sunshine you could be in the prettiest Continental city. The red brick and huge windows about the squares looked gorgeous in the afternoon light. The parks looked beautiful with spring planting and people enjoying themselves. The buzz about South William Street and Clarendon Street with cafes and streetlife was a real tonic.
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Planning lodged for Grafton Street

Postby StephenC » Fri Apr 20, 2012 9:50 pm

The proposals for Grafton Street have been submitted for planning permission today. I cant find anything on the DCC website...probably be a few days. The notice details repaving and replacement of street furniture (which I imagine means goodbye to Dublin cast irons and hello catalogue).
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Re: Grafton Street, Dublin

Postby Morlan » Fri Apr 20, 2012 10:57 pm

I emailed DCC asking for photomontages of the Grafton Street proposals. DENIED.

I guess we'll have to wait for the vague, black and white photocopies that they stick up on their site.

I'm a bit concerned about this:
The background colour will be a mid-grey with a “way-finding path” of dark grey stone off the central roadway on one side to provide an obstruction-free route along the street.


Does that mean that there will be a marked roadway through the street? If so, wouldn't that transform the entire experience of the street from being exclusively pedestrian to a shared roadway? Pedestrians will be subconsciously aware that the street is for also for traffic. Not good.

Are we going to end up with something like Fail Street in Stephen's pic?

Image

I have zero faith in DCC.
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Re: Grafton Street, Dublin

Postby Peter Fitz » Sat Apr 21, 2012 11:19 am

Morlan wrote:Does that mean that there will be a marked roadway through the street? If so, wouldn't that transform the entire experience of the street from being exclusively pedestrian to a shared roadway? Pedestrians will be subconsciously aware that the street is for also for traffic. Not good.


I have major issues with this.

This sounds as if the primary visual guide delineated by darker paving will be for vehicular traffic, and worse, set to one side. This is a street for pedestrians and the pedestrian should be the sole focus of any new paving scheme.
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Re: Grafton Street, Dublin

Postby StephenC » Sat Apr 21, 2012 12:47 pm

Firstly might be best to wait until the plans can be viewed. The Part 8 plans were lodged yesterday and are on view until June 6th. I assume all will be on the DCC website next week. Another outlet for the plans might be here http://www.dublincityarchitects.ie/

I think you are both reading too much into the architects design speak on this. I haven't heard anything to suggest that a shared roadway is envisaged or that the pedestrian nature of the street is to change. In face, if anything the trend seems to be for more pedestrianised streets in the area.

I think the architect is taking about differentiated pavements to guide pedestrian flows along the street. I think an example of what will happen on Grafton Street can already be found on Henry Street. Indeed the media story a few weeks back suggested that the 'look' of the street would be changed to match O'Connell and Henry Streets.
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Re: Grafton Street, Dublin

Postby Paul Clerkin » Mon Apr 23, 2012 1:32 pm

As it stands right now, there is a vehicular traffic route down Grafton Street, just delineated by the lamp standards and rubbish bins rather than paving.
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Re: Grafton Street, Dublin

Postby Peter Fitz » Mon Apr 23, 2012 4:22 pm

I think you are both reading too much into the architects design speak on this. I haven't heard anything to suggest that a shared roadway is envisaged or that the pedestrian nature of the street is to change. In face, if anything the trend seems to be for more pedestrianised streets in the area.


Perhaps Stephen - will have to wait & see.

The background colour will be a mid-grey with a “way-finding path” of dark grey stone off the central roadway on one side to provide an obstruction-free route along the street.


Difficult to reconcile this 'way finding path' business, however.

For me the Henry Street scheme is forgettable, and the general homogenisation of our entire public realm with Chinese granite, regrettable.

Gone are the nuances that define and characterise various pockets of the city.

Dyed 'red' concrete brick should never really have worked on Grafton Street, but it did. It defined and lifted the entire south city quarter. Sure, it is now time for it to go, but Grafton Street is in need of more than just another granite job. Using Irish stone would be a start.
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Re: Grafton Street, Dublin

Postby StephenC » Mon Apr 23, 2012 4:33 pm

I fear you may be disappointed by what's planned Peter
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Re: Grafton Street, Dublin

Postby Peter Fitz » Mon Apr 23, 2012 5:18 pm

hmmm...probably.
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Re: Grafton Street, Dublin

Postby StephenC » Tue Apr 24, 2012 11:49 am

Planning Ref: 2472/12 http://www.dublincity.ie/swiftlg/apas/r ... ts%3C/a%3E

No plans up on the site yet though...

Last date for observations is 20th June
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Re: Grafton Street, Dublin

Postby StephenC » Thu Apr 26, 2012 4:51 pm

Well gee whizz..I just couldnt contain myself and ventured into the Civic Offices to see what is planned for myself.

So what do we get...after a 2 year design project, after the Designing Dublin initaive to redefine the area as a Grafton Street Quarter full of interesting new uses and ideas...

What's on offer is a bog standard public realm scheme. The proposed layout more or less mirrors what exists now. A central carriageway flanked by two smaller pavement areas deliniated by line of bollards, lampstandards and bins. The proposal is NOT to allow for greater car use on Grafton Street. As I thought, the confusion created in earlier posts is a result of the architects description of the scheme.

Materials-wise the paving will mirror that used on Henry Street and O'Connell Street...leaning more to Henry Street. The majority is a mid-grey granite. The wayfinding path along one side of the street (which looks a big crappy in the plan layout) comprises the small tactile cobbles also found on Henry Street (the forecourts to most shops) and is intended to guide sight impaired people along the street. The various junctions along the street are denoted by square expanses of pink granite (again similar to that on Henry Street),

Bollards, lighting etc is positioned to ensure that heavy vehicles dont damage the pavement over cellars (its the same arrangement as now). The materials here are contemporary and while the design brief speaks of 'reflecting the unique design qualities of Grafton Street' (Im paraphrasing ), the street furniture is catelogue stuff similar to what you find on O'connell Street
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Re: Grafton Street, Dublin

Postby StephenC » Thu Apr 26, 2012 4:59 pm

I also noted in the application that a Masterplan has been prepared for the whole area from Dawson Street to South Great Georges Street - and a small image of it is included. North St Stephen's Green, Dawson Street and Lower Grafton Street are all top be dealt with by the Luas BXD works. The remaining streets will be gradually resurfaced over a period in similar materials. There doesnt appear to be any major rethinking of the layout of the area (as lobbied for). Curriously, South King Street is omitted from improvements...we can leave that defunct water feature in place for a while longer.

The Masterplan is not available to view anywwhere.
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Re: Grafton Street, Dublin

Postby StephenC » Sun Apr 29, 2012 12:08 am

An interesting article in light of Grafton Street seeking 'reinvention'

http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2012/ ... CMP=twt_gu
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Re: Grafton Street, Dublin

Postby StephenC » Thu May 03, 2012 2:59 pm

Still no sign of plans and drawings on the DCC website. Nothing about the designs in the media. :thumbdown:
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Re: Grafton Street, Dublin

Postby StephenC » Wed May 09, 2012 12:00 am

Shockingly the documents are STILL not up on the DCC website. Here are the details courtesy of Dublin City Business Association http://www.dcba.ie/wp-content/uploads/2 ... educed.pdf
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Re: Grafton Street, Dublin

Postby Peter Fitz » Fri May 11, 2012 7:47 pm

yick.

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Re: Grafton Street, Dublin

Postby GrahamH » Sun May 13, 2012 11:17 pm

Almost a full month since this plan went public and STILL no sign on the DCC website. One can only but draw their own conclusions. It is also remarkable that for a scheme as significant as this, a general public presentation has not been conducted by DCC officials other than those made to private business groups and traders on the street.

The above, coupled with what is apparent in the plan, confirms how this scheme seems to have plummeted down the priority list in DCC, where the repaving now appears to be being carried out with the minimum of fuss, design complexity and general public engagement. As much as these areas generally went OTT during the boom years, this is not a good thing and it is highly regrettable, not to mention disconcerting, that the reordering of the so-called premier street in the State is generating zero public or media comment. What's going on?

I imagine the above document is all that is on display in hard copy format, as Part 8 is a self-contained statutory document, in which case the plan is sorely thin on detail and virtually impossible to make an informed public comment on its specifics. Having studied it for half an hour or so, it is very difficult to get a sense of how the paving will work in reality, with no photomontages of a clear or relatively empty street. An enlarged plan section of paving is also required to accurately assess the mix of materials.

A few observations:

The most important of all: where is this granite being sourced? A very deliberate exclusion of this critical point from the plans is apparent, as nobody wants to talk about the giant Indian elephant sitting over in the corner. Having been exhaustively highlighted in the Historic Street Surfaces Workshop recently run by DCC, there is no excuse – either through procurement rules, ability to supply, or cost – for Irish stone to be discarded in favour of imported material. If we cannot pave our main shopping street in our own native materials, which we otherwise export by the bucketload, then might as well give up on a quality city here and now, and use the upcoming Public Realm Strategy as delightfully colourful lavatory paper.

The use of pink granite to denote street junctions is a tried and tested solution, but it is a predictable concept and far too similar to Henry Street in approach. The paving pattern at these junctions, comprised of square slabs, I also find repetitive and jarring, and evocative of cheap 1960s system cladding.

The complex, dense pattern of the proposed base granite is robust and elegant.

The 'wayfinding path' is much less prominent that people probably imagined - more like an irritating dribble than a full-on stain.

There is far too much street clutter by way of bollards, bins and lamps. While the bollards are essential to prevent incursions by vehicles into the cellar zones, the proposed litter bins should be capable of acting as bollards in themselves and be regularly spaced within the bollard sequence. The number of bins proposed is also ludicrous – a bin on both sides every three plot widths.

The single most hideous element that must be extracted from this plan are the ignorant lampposts proposed the length of the street, as pictured by Peter above. There are a few issues here:

The proposed design is plucked straight from 1950s central Bradford.
It is utterly anodyne.
It is catalogue-tastic.
The dual-height lamps look preposterous on a medium-sized standard of this kind. They also scream at their context, not because they’re ‘modrin’, but because in the hierarchy of street illumination the broad central artery of the street is being lit by the same lamp as the paltry walkway of the cellar zone. They therefore utterly fail to understand or acknowledge the design character and layout of the street.

Street lamps on an intimate pedestrian thoroughfare such as Grafton Street categorically require a high grade, custom designed, human scale solution. They demand design excellence, they should be graciously iconic, and they should stand out top of the pile in the hierarchy of Dublin street illumination. What is proposed shouts of a certain type of stereotype architect-led mediocrity, which is so obvious in its minimal architectonic discipline that it’s a wonder it wasn’t steered clear of in the avoidance of the inevitable guffaws. What is ironic about this robustly clinical design approach is that it actually avoids a confident design statement – it is, in effect, a cop-out on the singular greatest character-forming element on the thoroughfare. This is unacceptable and cannot go unchallenged.

Indeed, on the grounds of cost, it has to be questioned why existing street furniture cannot be retained and refurbished as part of this plan. This isn’t so much a hospital beds argument as a design and sustainability one – the existing lampposts and bollards are in good condition and surprisingly successful and minimal in form. The bollards are the classic Dublin Doric, which in spite of breeding like rabbits around the city, are a thoroughly elegant design. Likewise the lamp standards are a coherent mixture of historic Hammond Lane pillars, similar historic standards, and some 1980s reproductions. If all of this furniture was entirely reconditioned, with the gawky extension poles of the standards removed, everything stripped bare and given a robust factory coating in a striking matt olive green or perhaps deep rust shade, the lamps heads all unified with world-class, hand-crafted copper and glass lanterns based on a native Dublin design, fitted with sparkling white LEDs, and new contemporary bins purchased to complement, the cost would surely be a fraction of what is proposed. Statement pillars with declamatory heads, standing proud and upstanding on a bowling green of new paving would make a truly memorable and character-building statement. Why do we have to reinvent the wheel? Do designers not have confidence in their knowledge of the city to contextually redesign?

There is no mention of way-finding signage, or interpreting significant premises or sites on the street through the paving.

There is no mention of how flower sellers and stalls are to be incorporated into the plans.

Must wander over and see if there are more details at the planning desk.

Public submissions ‘welcome’ until June 20th.
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Re: Grafton Street, Dublin

Postby StephenC » Mon May 14, 2012 12:32 pm

It is proposed that the street furniture be well-designed and elegant, and both
reflect and express the unique character of Grafton Street.


So take out the Dublin lampstands and replace with catalogue stuff then.

The end design is mediocrity exemplified: I am wondering what the last 2 years were spent doing?

Very good analysis Graham... a lot of very pertinent questions raised that to my eyes dont seem to have occurred to the design team. Or is it just one person in isolation...never heard about the Historic Street Surfaces Workshop..."complaints about the increasing clutter of city streets?"...never heard those.....Grafton Street? where's that? The lack of promotion of this project is also puzzling...just like the Palace Street job.

Perhaps I am being unduly cynical. Perhaps the local authority that has failed to give any coherence to the Henry Street retail area in terms of urban realm will work wonders over in the new Grafton Street Quarter. Perhaps the team that started to install new public lighting and reduce clutter in College Green (continually noted as the city's pre-eminent civic space) and then got bored (last works undertaken in Nov) will do right by Grafton Street. Perhaps the various silos of responsibility that are currently making a balls up of tiny but important Palace Street as the main entrance onto the State's most important ceremonial complex will get it together before they splash out all that scarce dosh on chinese granite and shiny bins and bollards. As the song goes: perhaps perhaps perhaps.
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Re: Grafton Street, Dublin

Postby Peter Fitz » Mon May 14, 2012 7:01 pm

GrahamH wrote:What is ironic about this robustly clinical design approach is that it actually avoids a confident design statement – it is, in effect, a cop-out on the singular greatest character-forming element on the thoroughfare. This is unacceptable and cannot go unchallenged.


Absolutely.

Image

No detail at all on how the extensive area around the lamp standard in front of Fusiliers Arch will be handled, the significance of this space has grown over the years, now regularly thronged with buskers & onlookers.
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Re: Grafton Street, Dublin

Postby StephenC » Mon May 14, 2012 9:11 pm

That's because this area, as well as Lower Grafton Street down towards College Green, are the 'responsibility' of the RPA as part of proposed Luas BXD works (and Metro North/DART Underground were they do go ahead). The plans for these areas are currently before An Bord Pleanala. Its another inconsistency of these plans that they say very little about how they will link in with the proposed RPA works: will the same materials be used, will the paving join seamlessly or will it be the usual disjointed mess of surface treatments.
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Re: Grafton Street, Dublin

Postby StephenC » Mon May 14, 2012 10:05 pm

Here's that design statement by RPA for the Luas BXD and the proposals for St Stephen's Green

http://www.dublinluasbroombridge.ie/Dow ... Part_2.pdf
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Re: Grafton Street, Dublin

Postby Punchbowl » Mon May 14, 2012 11:48 pm

Brilliant, more tree planting on College Green
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Re: Grafton Street, Dublin

Postby missarchi » Tue May 15, 2012 11:56 pm

Does not seem like a strong design statement.
The old scheme seems better with new stone...
What heritage?
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Re: Grafton Street, Dublin

Postby StephenC » Thu Jun 14, 2012 8:54 pm

Next Wed is the final date for submissions on the Grafton Street works? Is anyone making an comment? I would be interested to hear. Is it worth it? Can PM me is you like.
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Re: Grafton Street, Dublin

Postby StephenC » Mon Jul 30, 2012 11:56 pm

No decision made as yet on the proposed Grafton Street works, although one imagines its a foregone conclusion. There were a variety of submissions made but the one likely to hold most sway came from the DofForeign Affairs expressing concern about the works taking place during the Presidency of the EU next year.

Nevertheless, the snail pace if improvement in the city centre (what ever happened to that City Centre Action Plan?) continues with the increased pedestrian space created on Clarendon Street. The changeover seems to be starting...big planters put in place to create a wider pavement with the proposed painting of the pavement starting soon.

Meanwhile Grafton Street is to get a new high profile client in the former Warehouse store....who could it be? Its Carrolls Gift and Souvenirs. I suppose they will at least pay the rates.
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