Grafton Street, Dublin

Re: Grafton Street, Dublin

Postby StephenC » Wed Sep 11, 2013 9:31 pm

The chosen street furniture obviously here to stay, as matching colour Hartecaste bins have also gone in on the street. Criticism falls on deaf ears of course. Bit then its simply the usual suspects.
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Re: Grafton Street, Dublin

Postby aindriu80 » Sat Sep 14, 2013 8:46 pm

I'm no expert but what I saw of the mixed granite and street furniture looks ugly. I guess its early days but they should have picked something else apart Hartecaste at least.
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Re: Grafton Street, Dublin

Postby StephenC » Mon Sep 16, 2013 9:05 pm

I wonder do the retailers on Grafton Street have any view on these ugly new additions to the street? Or Dublin City BID or DCBA? They are strikingly ugly.

And I cant help wondering why the design wasnt included in the Part VIII process. Or at the 'launch' of the street works a few months back. If the Council were so proud of their purchases.
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Re: Grafton Street, Dublin

Postby Peter Fitz » Tue Sep 17, 2013 11:20 am

Any pics? haven't been down there in a while...
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Re: Grafton Street, Dublin

Postby StephenC » Sat Sep 28, 2013 9:20 pm

Some views of whats going on...for the Diaspora

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The pink junction nodes

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Some of those awful bollards going in

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The wayfinding strip...the least successful element. And of course the big shore plonked in the middle

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The north end...

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Some of the Irish granite on the side flanks
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Re: Grafton Street, Dublin

Postby missarchi » Sun Sep 29, 2013 3:43 pm

Look good.
Do you think Grafton street has lost character because of the new paving?
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Re: Grafton Street, Dublin

Postby Paul Clerkin » Mon Sep 30, 2013 1:14 pm

I'd like someone to explain to me the "wayfinding" strip without talking like an architect...
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Re: Grafton Street, Dublin

Postby gunter » Mon Sep 30, 2013 8:13 pm

Imagine that you're at the bottom of Grafton Street and you want to go to the top of Grafton Street.

Now imagine that the 'Way-finder' strip wasn't there.

See how lost you'd be?
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Re: Grafton Street, Dublin

Postby StephenC » Mon Sep 30, 2013 10:54 pm

To be fair, its meant for blind people and poor sighted people.
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Re: Grafton Street, Dublin

Postby Peter Fitz » Tue Oct 01, 2013 10:36 am

Directly adjoining different granite types, from different countries, is just jarring visually. It’s like something out of your nearest paving display area and just doesn't work.

Contrasting the lovely Leinster granite with the bland Portugese stuff only serves to highlight what might have been.

Significant quantities of Irish granite are being used, enough it seems to have covered the central median, why then they couldn't have used this fine stone in the most prominent location and contrasted it against a sett pattern, or something of a different hue altogether is beyond me.

I've no issue with the concept of a way finding strip, but in what seems to be emblematic of this job, they’ve gone and crudely sliced the Leinster granite, the good stuff, with some rumble strip slabs borrowed from the RPA. Subtle.

Thanks for the pics Stephen.
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Re: Grafton Street, Dublin

Postby GrahamH » Mon Oct 07, 2013 10:52 pm

I concur with most of your points Peter. The clash is highly unsatisfactory - the contrast between the two simply isn't stark enough. Placing two vaguely similar granites side by side is like a bizarre showroom display. It simply makes no visual sense. It looks like there wasn't enough to go around. Which is correct. There wasn't. But we shouldn't have to live with this resourcing reality literally concreted into the ground! Coupled with the line of guttering and yet another division in the form of the wayfinding band, the effect is nothing short of chaotic. Where's the grace? Where's the prestige? Where's the design response to Grafton Street?

I wouldn't be harsh on the Portugese granite - it's a beautiful choice. Walking over it again in the rain the other day, it's simply magnificent. What a robust, stately material. It will be interesting to see what it looks like once cleaned, sealed, and worn in a little. Agreed, it looks plain against the Leinster granite, but in its own right it's a fine material. I was trying to think what the slab laying pattern, wide jointing and rough finish reminded me of - it looks very 'Dublin', even though we never had paving of this kind historically. It is quite evocative of the weathered ashlar blocks of Trinity's West Front with its wide joints and granular texture.
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Re: Grafton Street, Dublin

Postby Landarch » Tue Oct 08, 2013 6:29 pm

In relation to street furniture, would any of you well informed posters have access to info regarding traditional park benches? The project involves the reproduction of an existing casting but the issue relates to the finish of the timber slats. The castings will be a matte black and the timbers can be stained, clear coated or a natural finish maybe with some oil. How would the timber on a Victorian bench have been specified originally. I have a preference but I was looking for some other reference points.
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Re: Grafton Street, Dublin

Postby StephenC » Wed Oct 09, 2013 5:33 pm

This might well be for you Landarch....though not necessarily immediately answer your question

http://www.dublincivictrust.ie/courses.php

I notice that Dublin City Council Park Department have recently been restoring benches in Merrion Square with new timber. However these are concrete base benches. So perhaps no help.

However, there is always a wealth of information in the Council (though seldom realised). Perhaps some long established Parks guy would know everything there is to know about benches?
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Re: Grafton Street, Dublin

Postby Landarch » Thu Oct 10, 2013 9:00 am

StephenC, when you say new timber, has it been treated in any way can you remember? Thanks for the link. Loads of really interesting courses there. I completed a course on dry stone walling run by Pat McAfee a few years back held in Drimnagh Castle. Really great course. Did it through Fas
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Re: Grafton Street, Dublin

Postby StephenC » Thu Oct 10, 2013 9:26 am

From memory it is treated timber but I will check later today. Its only next door.
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Re: Grafton Street, Dublin

Postby StephenC » Thu Oct 10, 2013 8:12 pm

It t'is of course the minutiae of city life and wearnicehats will no doubt be appalled. Nevertheless you asked about the benches in Merrion Square. And from what I can see they are stained and varnished.

Before

Image

Image

And after...they look great

Image
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Re: Grafton Street, Dublin

Postby Landarch » Sun Oct 13, 2013 7:25 pm

StephenC, thanks for having a look. Great to see the old benches getting a new lease of life. We are going to go for an untreated timber with an oil. Leaving them oiled means they can be sanded back quite easily and re oiled when they get a bit scruffy. Oil also keeps the timber looking natural

The Brits have a document for everything. Found this when I was doing a bit of research:

http://www.royalparks.org.uk/__document ... -guide.pdf
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Re: Grafton Street, Dublin

Postby StephenC » Mon Jan 27, 2014 11:53 pm

Whatever about the concerns expressed about the details of the new scheme for Grafton Street, one can't deny that the work is progressing speedily and with a minimum of disruption. In fact the contractors are powering through the project and one could imagine the street being completed by the end of the summer. The team are currently finishing pavement outside Brown Thomas.

The street is seeing a great deal of activity: the new Massimo Dutti store has transformed the former HMV premises on the street, a NAMA-funded development is taking place at the southern end and a number of sites have popped up on Duke Street and South Anne Street.

It would appear that the street is at the start of a period of improvement - sorely needed. My one concern is that a rather bland approach to shopfronts has developed. A lot of plate glass and stone facing and colour is sorely missing - everything is cream and white.

Once upon a fantasy time, we were talking of this street as one of the prime retail pitches in the world (that hubris beggars belief now). What is happening is that retail has condensed down to the two main cores in the city centre and the major multiples are finally starting to spend a little on new stores and new looks in a bid to attract custom back from the suburbs. It could only have gotten better for Grafton Street.

Dublin City Council have finally responded to the dismal condition of the public realm in the area, which hardly matches the hive of smart boutiques and eateries clamouring over each other in the area from Grafton Street to South Great Georges Street, by developing a Public Realm Strategy for the Grafton Street Quarter.

http://www.dublincity.ie/YourCouncil/Lo ... nDraft.pdf

The current condition of Duke Street and South Anne Street in particular is disgraceful.

The draft was on display until Nov and a final version is awaited. It is reported that the Council is likely to roll out improvements over 3 years, but I hardly think this is achievable. There are many good proposals in the Strategy, even if it shies away from any major rethink of the area.

All in all, things are looking up for the city's prime retail area, which has descended into a rather depressing condition in recent years. There's an expansion of the retail area into Dawson Street (Tower Records opening soon in the former Waterstones) and even to College Green (the former National Irish Bank hall being converted into H&M). In fact the development of retail on College Green is most interesting, its surely a matter of time before Ulster Bank too decamp. Some high profile retail tenants makes a greater case for a greater pedestrian space at College Green. The current mess of College Green is a disgrace - signage posts, clutter, those ill-considered lighting standards. Lets try and make a space worthy of a capital city centre.
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Re: Grafton Street, Dublin

Postby GrahamH » Tue Jan 28, 2014 12:39 am

Yes Ulster Bank on College Green will be an interesting play Stephen. They wish to enter into a leaseback arrangement upon sale, for ten years, but the ground floor retail may possibly be up for grabs. Either way, if the market continues as it is, there is little question the building will be comprehensively redeveloped as an enormous retail site over multiple floors - effectively a department store, if the demand is there in years to come.

South Anne Street is beyond an embarrassment at this stage. I walked it only yesterday (I usually avoid the horror show) with my head in my hands. What a planning disgrace - banners, posters, projecting signage, sandwich boards, unauthorised shopfronts, garish colours, restaurants commandeering 'pavement' pitches as an extension of their own floorplate with permanent wall and roof structures - it's unbelievable stuff. Like the worst excesses of uncontrolled bazaars in 19th century seaside resorts, or bonkers Asian cities. And this the approach route to 'Ireland's premier shopping destination'. LOL as they say. Where on earth is the pride gone? As for the street surface - well, there just isn't one. It's like hundreds of miniature volcanoes have erupted, pockmarking the street with craters in its wake. Goodness knows how this sorry mess is going to be cleaned up. I have to say, the Grafton Quarter visualisation for the street is very impressive, but curiously, the property management aspect of things isn't exactly elucidated...

I am very surprised at the Massimo shopfront. It is thin, poorly detailed appliqué of the lazy kind, and unresponsive to its host building. In fact, it clashes with it, with its flimsy modernist pilasters of Spanish white limestone misaligned with the upper floors and unnecessarily interrupting the flow of its fascia. And the flush windows just add to the 'applied' character of the whole thing.

Believe it or not, this is the third attempt to get things right, with the applicant submitting planning, additional information and even clarification of additional information, in response to justly expressed concerns by the case planner about the character of the proposed shopfront and the clarity of information in the submitted plans. I think the initially proposed shopfront was far more appropriate - flush black stone cladding, with no pilasters, simply arranged as a series of crisply articulated frames around windows. Alas, the devil is in the detail, and planning just cannot engineer out clumsy design.

But agreed that it's a sharpening improvement at least, and it does set a trend for higher quality materials on Grafton Street.

The pace of repaving is incredible! Certainly a case of on-time and (hopefully) on budget.
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Re: Grafton Street, Dublin

Postby rumpelstiltskin » Fri Jan 31, 2014 1:51 am

StephenC wrote:To be fair, its meant for blind people and poor sighted people.


I've seen plenty of blind people walking around streets without wayfinding strips. They somehow manage - they've been doing it all their lives. In fact, putting one here is just teasing them because in the lifetime of my grandchildren there won't be a wayfinding strip on the vast majority of streets in Ireland. Why do we have to ape the politically correct insanity of the UK?
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Re: Grafton Street, Dublin

Postby StephenC » Fri Jan 31, 2014 7:50 pm

Aah I see what you mean about Massimo Dutti's new shopfront Graham. Its just been completed and opened.

It is as you suggest rather 'clumsy', and a textbook example of a ground floor completely ignoring what the upper floor is doing. It seems rather unfortunate. (sorry if I am stealing your thunder with quick phone camera pics G).

Its as if the entrance is on the wrong side?

Image

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And annoyingly, couldnt they have stretched the height for hire across and painted the remainder.

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Last edited by StephenC on Fri Jan 31, 2014 7:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Grafton Street, Dublin

Postby StephenC » Fri Jan 31, 2014 7:54 pm

-Elsewhere on Grafton Street, its funny what you notice when you look up. This one, right up at the north end. I'd hazard a whole business just left intact, gathering dust. The building is owned by AIB Investment if I'm not mistaken and I recall they had plans to create a larger unit of the corner building around 2009/10.

Image

Anyone for a Vinzini?

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Re: Grafton Street, Dublin

Postby Paul Clerkin » Fri Jan 31, 2014 8:24 pm

Man they really missed a good chance with that Massimo Dutti shopfront. Completely ignores the second floor rhythm.
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Re: Grafton Street, Dublin

Postby arachne » Sun Feb 02, 2014 6:52 pm

I find a lot of the critique on these forums excellent - for example, the Irish Times Building on D'Olier Street. But really, who cares that the Massimo Dutti shopfront ignores the rhythm of bays on the first floor? It might matter if the building was distinguished in some way but it isn't -- and it's not the most noticeable thing either. As architectural crimes in Dublin go, this has to rate as fairly minor IMHO.
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Re: Grafton Street, Dublin

Postby StephenC » Sun Feb 02, 2014 7:14 pm

You're right of course...but its just a comment. I dont think anyone is suggesting that an 'architectural crime' has been committed. But I suppose its relevant to the wider issue of good shopfront design - what works and what doesnt and why.
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