Insightful and incite-full analysis there Graham.
A few of my own thoughts, some of which have been touched on already so I'll avoid repetition:
The 'top up' roof extension is an absolute disaster. Not only are the Irish incapable of creating vista closers, in this instance one of the city's most important vistas, looking south down O'Connell Street, has been mauled beyond belief. If its possible for the RIAI to award a negative prize, the 'Wibbiley Wobbley Blunder'
should get it. It is all the more remarkable that the roof extension was permitted, while the faux attic storeys were seemingly wastefully left alone and empty. 6 houses would have yielded about 500 square metres in additional space, had the space been harnessed. Was this option even looked at by the City Council? If not, why not?
It seems the worst outcome was achieved, whereby a 'lets-pretend-we-don't-see-it-as-it-camouflages-against-sky-loike-really' was opted for. It does not. Nor is it a contemporary foil to historic buildings. What it is however, as has already been noted, is a symptom of a failed city council who are seemingly either unwilling or unable to protect the core fulcrum triangle at the heart of the city. What was the primary motivation of this? Was it so that a corporate roof top office with 'spectacular views' could be advertised for let at a higher price? If so, particularly in view of the visually blocked photomontages provided, the planners should have smelled a rat - and realised it would inevitably stick up as a visual one finger salute on the skyline, representing perhaps a private gain to one developer at the cost to the wider civic appearance and the greater community.
It is also all the remarkable given the previous row as to the adjacent Treasury development of Westin Hotel 10 years ago, which Lancefort Ltd tried to block by way of a Supreme Court case - yet this new addition actually achieves making that rooftop scheme look admirable as a scheme that fitted in. And there in lies an interesting downward trajectory:
> DCC Planning Dept / Fail
- The 1950's replica in-fill took advantage of the previously faux attic storey, and gleaned an extra circa 170 sq metres at roof level, without any visual imposition.
- The 1990's Treasury Westin scheme got through amidst much controversy, yet ultimately did not destroy the vista looking south from O'Connell Street.
- This 'Celtic Tiger' scheme utterly screws the vista closure looking south from O'Connell Street.
- If another scheme occurs in another ten years, what are we to expect?
Finally regarding the lights, I fully agree the new suburban shopping mall style strip lighting is an absolute failure. I passed the other night, expecting that as the new units were at such an aesthetic cost during daylight, the night time result must be that the lighting would be to great dramatic effect. It is not. Perhaps an attempt at an under statement, the lighting is a failure and achieves sweet F.A. in terms of any effect. Utterly pointless.
I also note the elegant mid-twentieth century dual globe street lamps unit that used to stand on the street has been removed - with nothing put in its place. Daft - that is unless the council is actively trying to create dark no-go areas in the city at street level, which I am actually beginning to suspect they are trying to do!
At least the brickwork has washed up well, with of course the most unfortunate exception of returning the replica in-fill to a colour different in appearance to the rest of the street. The hanging baskets don't bother me at all, though I do find it perhaps unintentionally most appropriate that the icing on the cake is, well, hanging baskets on a basket case block.
Aside from this scheme itself, there is one key lesson that contributers should learn from all of this: while a postmortem is all very well after the fact, for those that actually care about the city, it would be far better to get involved and take an active interest at planning stage so as to avoid such monstrosities happening. We certainly can't rely on those authorities that are supposedly charged and paid to do such a task if this is the best they can achieve. "Premortems" folks, would perhaps be to far better effect than postmortems - and also active participation in the planning process, be it as individuals or by way of NGOs such as An Taisce.
Will we read any criticism regarding this scheme in the media publication previously housed here? Somehow I doubt it... unless that is, someone is writing a book and wants to raise their profile before book launch