Astonished, Dublin

Astonished, Dublin

Postby J Lobb » Tue Apr 04, 2000 1:57 pm

Has anyone seen the British 'Architect's Journal' of 23 March 2000?

In it is an incredible article by Martin Pawley in which he barracks the planning authority and Dubliners in general over their opposition to the Spencer Dock scheme. He finds it anomalous that Dublin Corpration should ask for separate planning applications for the 23 buildings which weren't initially granted (how unreasonable). He lambasts the proceedings of the planning appeal and quotes 'an American participant' who thinks it's better 'the American way' (ask Dallas).

Throughout this article, which presents the people of Dublin as ignorant, short-sighted and unprogressive, he neglects to mention that he was employed by the developers to speak on their behalf at the planning appeal hearing!
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Postby john white » Tue Apr 04, 2000 6:30 pm

Well spotted! Everybody take notice.
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Postby Paul Clerkin » Sat Apr 08, 2000 12:21 pm

Actually feel a letter coming on.

He really sold out.
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Postby Hugh Pearman » Mon Apr 10, 2000 11:55 am

Yes, I do feel that Martin (who I know and like, and whose writings I normally greatly admire) has let us down here. If it is true that he is in the pay of the Spencer Dock developers, then he should declare that interest when he writes about the scheme.

The developers spread their net wide. At one point (I think before they signed up Martin, if that is indeed the case) they approached me to speak out on their behalf. I refused on the grounds that the scheme appeared to me to be over-developed: too much floorspace, basically. Also I just didn't like the look of it.

Their reply was that it was all the city corporation's fault because of insisting on the convention centre. This would be loss-making, they said, so they had to cram in extra floorspace everywhere else to balance their books. Aesthetics were not mentioned.

Subsequent events have not made me regret my decision to steer well clear of Spencer Dock. And anyway, what are they doing approaching London critics about a Dublin matter?
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Postby Paul Clerkin » Tue Apr 11, 2000 8:18 am

Martin Pawley indeed appeared for the developers, and as far as i know also produced an article for one of the national newspapers in praise of the scheme


Dublin held back for too long by its history - critic http://www.ireland.com/newspaper/ireland/2000/0307/hom15.htm
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Postby Paul Clerkin » Tue Apr 11, 2000 8:20 am

As regarding the London critics, here we really only have Frank McDonald and Shane O'Toole and I cannot really see either of them appearing for the developers. Also maybe there was a little of the "see, our English neighbours who know so much more about architecture think its a good idea".
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Postby J Lobb » Tue Apr 11, 2000 12:34 pm

Re asking the opinion of London architecture critics; during radio news coverage of the planning appeal, Mr Pawley was described as an "international architecture critic".

On the face of it this presumably just means that Mr Pawley has had work published in more than one country, but it seems to me to suggest that since everybody who knows about architecture in Ireland seems to think the development is bad, the developers had to cast abroad for someone to speak in favour of it. The developers no doubt would view this as having to go abroad to find someone who knows about architecture.


Also, regarding the spreading wide of nets, local residents were apparently approached with offers of money to withdraw objections or speak in favour the Spencer Dock Development (an allegation which has also circulated regarding the sudden withdrawal of the only two objections to the demolition of Pelican House). God we're such begrudgers.

Lastly, Pawley's article fails to mention the fact that the whole purpose of the development was to build a conference centre (part financed by additional commercial development), not to magnaminously offer to overdevelop an entire city quarter and, hey, let's throw in a conference centre as well.

Talk about tails wagging dogs.
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