Passport Office Building
It would be nice to be able to greet news of the proposed demolition of the wretched Passport Office block on Molesworth Street with the satisfaction of long awaited vengeance, but since the proposed replacement block manages to repeat all the same mistakes as its 1974 predecessor, but on a louder scale, we're going to have to put satisfaction on hold.the 'Molesworth Building', named in desecration of the family that laid out this noble street in 1726.a view of Molesworth Street just as the hoarding was going up for the demolition of the five houses that made way for this appalling office block.
Whereas the existing block could be described as dull to the point of knowing its own worthlessness, the proposed replacement block, from the images scanned on the planning file [Reg. no. 3312/13], doesn't even have that merit.
As we've come to expect in situations like this, there is an wholly superfluous Archaeological Assessment Report
thrown in with the application, produced on this occasion apparently in response to a phantom Recorded Monument number that has somehow managed to linger on the RMP Map of the area long after anything remotely historical was eradicated by the 6m deep double basement car park. As bogus as the Archaeological Assessment Report is, at least it gets much of its background information on the original development of the street from an inter-web article written by Turtle Bunbury, a writer with an interest in history who had gone to the bother of looking it up.
In contrast to the weighty, but pointless, Archaeological Assessment Report, the distinctly light weight report submitted by 'Historic Buildings Consultant'
, David Slattery, manages to garble even these basic facts about the original development of the street with Slattery telling us that Molesworth Street was developed in the early 18th century on ground ''. . . within the Dawson Estate which adjoined the gardens of Leinster House.''
With a statement that geographically and chronologically challenged, it's hard to take the subsequent architectural evaluation seriously. For what it's worth the evaluation goes on to say exactly what you'd expect it to say; the existing office block is 'bland and repetitive'
and the new office block will be 'complex and expressive'
, from which I think we can conclude that the cheque has cleared.
Molesworth Street was a planned street, therefore it had 'original' houses, all of which were gable fronted and all of which were completed within thirty five years of the initial laying out of the street. At the very least, a proper assessment of the original streetscape should be submitted with any application for redevelopment of this scale and an architectural response provided that both, acknowledges the original plot widths, and is respectful of the two surviving original houses that adjoin the site to the east.
Lobbing in another bog-standard office block with a bog-standard, overblown, corner feature [extra storey] and - concrete fins that echo the plaster reveals of Georgian windows - on a street that was characterized by flush-framed windows and subtle variations in building widths and gable heights, is an indictment of corporate ignorance and the professionals that feed off it.
Molesworth Street deserves better than this.