D'Olier & Westmoreland St.

Re: Westmoreland / D'Olier Streets

Postby Morlan » Fri Aug 05, 2005 4:35 pm

This would be a dream come true. How would people like to see the street layout? LUAS down the centre, two traffic lanes and widened footpaths on either side? Westmorland has 'ridiculous' potential to rival Grafton and Henry Streets.

The problem I find with this stretch is the horrible death trap junctions at College Green and O'Connell Bridge. These areas need give priority to the pedestrians. I think the whole College Green area should be turned into a GPO type plaza, which would calm the traffic there. O'Connell Bridge and the two junctions on either side of the quays should also be given the plaza treatment designed primarily for pedestrians. I think this would encourage people to shop on either side of the city.
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Re: Westmoreland / D'Olier Streets

Postby kefu » Fri Aug 05, 2005 4:53 pm

It would be pretty easy to get rid of all private cars from Westmoreland Street between the Westin Hotel and O'Connell Bridge.
Getting on to Westmoreland Street directly from Pearse Street, Nassau Street and George's Street is already banned.
So once the Port Tunnel opens [and the trucks are gone] all remaining cars could be sent up to Christchurch and around onto the north quays.
This would leave the area available only to taxis and buses. It would make the traffic worse around the Christchurch area but apart from that, I wouldn't foresee any other difficulties.
Full pedestrianisation would, in my view, be extremely difficult and probably counter-productive for Westmoreland Street.
If Luas is to travel down this way, I guarantee this will be what happens with only limited access for private cars to some of the multi-storeys.
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Re: Westmoreland / D'Olier Streets

Postby StephenC » Fri Aug 05, 2005 4:53 pm

Despite garethace's theory on pedestrainisation I remain a firm believer in the idea that a better environment for pedestrians and the removal of cars from the centre of the city is the best way forward. Despite the constant 'nightmare' stories public transport into the city is not that bad. And regardless of the charms (!) of out of town centres like Dundrum and Blanchardstwon the city centre is still the best place to shop and be entertained.
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Re: Westmoreland / D'Olier Streets

Postby notjim » Fri Aug 05, 2005 5:15 pm

so again, what needs to be done is to have huge pedestrian crossings, in other words synchronize the traffic lights so that the whole area is clear in one go so you can cross anywhere, not just at crossing points.
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Re: Westmoreland / D'Olier Streets

Postby Alek Smart » Fri Aug 05, 2005 11:43 pm

When I see John Fitzgerald being quoted as using words such as "Aspirational" and "Logical" I know damn well that Arthur Beesley has managed to buttonhole the City Manager as he was taking a Bath or perhaps teeing off on some luxuriant fairway.
It may well have slipped past Mr Fitzy`s eagle eye and that of his able Assistant Mr Owen Keegan that Motorists are already making their own arrangements on O Connell Bridge/D`Olier St/Westmoreland St.
For example there is now a dei-facto RIGHT TURN lane for Southbound Traffic who desire to head into the Wesht.
The norm is now simply to turn right on the bridge and sit on the median until the legally positioned westbound Lanes get a green and then to lurch off ahead of them.
The current state of O Connell St and particularly its main Junctions "Logically" demands the presence of Gardai during the entire day and perhaps long into the evening,at least until the Freight Ferries have cast off.
However this presence remains merely "Aspirational" on my part as I know Damn well that neither Mr Fitzy nor anybody in a position of Authority above level 2 of Civic Offices is too bothered about the "Little Things" which blight Dubliners daily lives.
Lets face it the REAL issue concerning these Boys is how in the name of Jaysuzz they can give "The Lads" in National Toll Roads the Port Tunnel deal without anybody choking on the smell of rotting vegetation emanating from the entire process.
Its not issuing Free Compost Bins they should be at,but instead inviting Citizens to bring their Crap up to Wood Quay and chuck it through the doors...!!!!
If it was`nt for our Gulf Stream influenced climate this little Island would be every bit as poorly run as Niger,Chad,Benin,Togo or a thousand other African Countries marked with a Pin on Bono`s globe.. :mad:
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Re: Westmoreland / D'Olier Streets

Postby GrahamH » Fri Aug 05, 2005 11:48 pm

There's no doubting Westmoreland St has huge potential, particularly the eastern side of the street as highlighted in the article; there's quite large floorplates to be created out of the EBS and ICS (think there's only apartments on the upper two floors).

But I don't think I'd like to see Westmoreland St devoid of traffic, it has an inherent avenue-like quality that almost merits a directional flow of traffic down the centre. Of course the farcical pedestrian/vehicle ratio needs to be rebalanced: goodness knows there's probably 10-15 times the number of people on the narrow pavements than there are on the copious amounts of roadspace. But there is more than ample space for the two to coexist quite happily.

Saying that, if a traffic route were to be retained soley for public transport, i.e. buses, we could do without that either!
At least having a mix of cars and general private traffic dispells the buses - with 'public transport only' we'll end up with a bus carpark like O'Connell St.
I think a restricted amount of traffic adds interest and variety to city streets.
To devote a grand space the size of Westmoreland St just to pedestrians is taking the European ideal a little too far I think.

But certainly this thoroughfare is so important in the city as a link in the chain that were it to be blocked for whatever reason the city centre would fall on its knees - and yet scant attention has been paid to it over the years, even less then O'Connell St, at least it got a cleaning up in 1988, Westmoreland St has got nothing on 30 years except a clump of inappropriate trees!
The uses on it have equally gone to hell, and traffic completely dominates - all on one of the city's grandest streets.

The scheme that tackles it will be very important as it includes not only Westmoreland St, but also the link to College Green at the south and O'Connell Bridge at the north. The bridge needs attention in particular and the manner in which the pedestrian is almost totally excluded from 'the experience' of the street joining the river - this link is completely consumed by traffic in the centre. Just think how dangerous and 'out of bounds' we all percieve this central space to be, with traffic all lined up like the start of a racetrack - and then zoom they're off over the bridge whilst the pedestrian is left mushed in to either side, allowing the car to take centre stage.

This has to change - the emergence of the view of the Bridge and O'Connell Street is one of the delights of the city centre, yet is often concealed by a rank of traffic and buses, and even other pedestrians there being so many squeezed into such a small space - approaching the crossing from a distance your only concern is watching out for your own 'space' rather than enjoying vistas...
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Re: Westmoreland / D'Olier Streets

Postby garethace » Sat Aug 06, 2005 4:22 pm

"A key goal of the growth of the city in the longer term must be to reinforce the linkage across the city. Re-invigorated shopping zones north and south of the city, if combined to a single shopping trip, will prove very difficult for any other shopping proposal to match." Bannon said the council should remove retail services from the list of normally permitted uses on the two main shopping streets.


Okay, well then, let's just take this much on board,... It is a pity really to be talking about 'linkage' of anything in relation to the city centre of Dublin City. When everything almost, that has been done in the city, state intervention or no state intervention,... has taken the whole concept of linkage and just abandoned it. You have two kinds of development happening in Dublin city centre at the moment: Firstly, you have sites which have no linkage or strategic importance whatsoever, and they have all kinds of attention and effort lavished upon them. Secondly, you have some sites in Dublin, which just stare you in the face, and say 'I Have Linkage' in capital letters, but normally those sites are just lying there waiting to be discovered. Cows Lane in the Temple Bar Area, is a good example of the first case - a space which has practically no linkage to anything - if you even attempt to have a coffee there while sitting outside - you get asked by passers-by for biros, money,... and maybe the shirt off your back, if you waited around long enough. As a consequence, people avoid the place whenever possible - Cow's Lane represents an area of Temple Bar, which is appealing for the very reason, it is quiet and subdued,... yet none of the 'uses' of the retail units there, play on this idea,... of going to an area of Temple Bar, which isn't quite as manic,... Cow's Lane is a good example of a beautiful pedestrian space, within walking distance of the Ha'Penny bridge,... but it is just interesting to watch, what happens, having created this fabulous space,... the limited capability of the Irish scene, to come up with anything creative at all, to do with a new space, they have been provided. It is not the best incentive in the world, to run with 'good design',... when you see how good design is abused really, once it has been made. Curved Street is yet another example of inappropriate use, of what should be a very good space - a new kind of space - but it is just sad, once we ever create these new, really snappy, contemporary urban spaces - what we do with those spaces, when they have been created, and how we manage those spaces. I mean, it is unavoidable, to notice how the curved street area, has become a prime location for knacker drinking. While the Meeting House Square has terribly uses around it too, like a really cheap Chinesse restaurant, a photo-gallery or two, with no nightime presence, and big huge gates at nightime. The only possible use people could think for New Square, Temple Bar, has been to commercialise the thing completely by filling it all with de-markated areas full of tables and chairs, full of people willing to pay for over-priced, city centre cappuchinos and such. It is almost comical these times, to see the few 'Triers' doing second hand books, almost pushed out of the scene altogether on New Square, by the explosion of people 'slobbering' down wine. One of the few other uses in New Square, other than its 'mis-use' as a wine drinking room,... is an AIB cash machine, hole-in-the-wall,... now isn't that original.

I actually believe the government and planners are right in this case to show restraint, and not 'jump-in' and create these nice new contemporary, 'pedestrian' spaces,... because you only have to look at the track-record,... a trail of various casulties of urban design,... in doing open public space in this city of Dublin, to know that we cannot be entrusted with this responsiblity as of yet. In a word, we simply don't have the creativity necessary in business or in design, to pull off these complex challenges effectively. I think we need to re-think, and start from basic principles - of how we train young professionals - the kinds of designers we are producing. At the moment, we have ones who run after design awards - as in the case of the Temple Bar situation - but afterwards, the urban space isn't used to a fraction of it's original potential. We should encourage spatial designers to think of these projects in a life-cylce kind of fashion - about the maintenance and operation of the spaces, as well as just their execution in bricks and mortar, or fancy 'spatially-evocative',... award-winning, design descriptive vocabulary,... as in the AAI Awards brochure notion of things. A young designer growing up in Ireland now, should not be encouraged to think, that their responsibility ends when they have built something and gotten recognition through the AAI awards system, for doing that,... but that is the way, young designers have been indoctrinated sadly. For this, the finger of blame must point directly at the design schools. Another public space, that comes especially to mind here, was the new creation of an 'all-pedestrian space down near Grand Canal Docks,... I think the decision to eliminate the car completely in that instance was a demonstrable mistake. While on the other hand, a three-lane curving speed-way, through college green, merging into a 6-7 lanes mess on West Moreland Street,... well, you don't need to do any 'surveys' to understand, how antagonistic to urban life, that could be. The main trouble still on Westmoreland Street is the use of it, as a bus park depot. Because anyone walking on the west side of the street has absolutely no view-lines, and therefore, that makes it even more dangerous to cross. The speed of the traffic on Westmoreland Street is much too fast,... mainly because of this 'wall' of buses parked down one side of it,... the cars tend to ignore the presence of a pedestrian element altogether and just put the foot down. Motorists will always instinctively 'put the foot down' were ever, pedestrians have been elminated altogether from the equation. The augmented presence 'People' in the equation, on Westmoreland Streeet, using the road to cross or whatever, would have a calming influence on this car speeding behaviour,... the city planners by designing Westmoreland as a movement system, as it is,... have in effect themselves created a situation, which is much more dangerous than it needs to be. This just boils down to poor design and lack of spatial awareness more than anything. But I don't think that 'flipping-the-bit' and turning what was 'All-Car' suddenly to 'All-People', is going to furnish us with a sustainable, long-term solution. To design good urban space, our ability as managers of projects in four as well as three dimensions - is going to be put to the test. It is not just good enough, to import an army of 'slick' well-trained foreign design professionals into the country to 'win' the competition to complete the new urban space,... we should be training our young talent right here in this country to maintain streets for use by car, pedestrian and bus alike, well into the next fifty years.

The types of individuals associated with queues at bus stops isn't always desireable either - especially not in the concentration of them, that happens on Westmoreleand Street. You have the same kind of situation on Nassau Street, or along the Quays, where the crowds of people standing waiting for a bus, tend to attract attention from un-desireable elements, just looking for a bit of entertainment,... where the city planners have provided a ready-made captive audience for their antics. There is a much better way to combine traffic and people on the same street I am sure, but certainly 'banning' the car isn't going to make a street anymore friendly for a pedestrian, than a street full of cars is - I am certain of that. But finally, I must mention, on the theme of 'linkage' the Dublin City Council's attempt at linking north and south, via the new Millenium bridge. I really do hate to say this, but it highlights yet another circumstance, where Dublin lacks any design and business creativity to pull off this kind of challenge effectively. You get to the north bank of the Liffey, you wait for this stupid 'count-down' clock to tick all the ways down to zero, and then having scurried across the Quay's 'motorway',... you hit the 'pedestrianised' zone, and guess what? Yeah, more Dubin city centre wine boozers, at mid-day on a Saturday, having tables and chairs thrown all over the tiny miserable piece of ground, which 'North-South' pedestrians were promised to walk in,... But now that overflow from the Millenium bridge is funnelled through a space, about the width of one person, at times, because these so called 'Cafes' in this new tunnel-street,... want to capitalise, on the 'footfall' of a 'thight-squeeze' of people, to pawn expensive 'cheese and wine'. As long as we continue to do urban design in this fashion, where it is all about extracting money from people walking in confined spaces,... then as a nation, we still cannot be trusted to deal with this responsiblity,... and I as one individual, would certainly be happier to see the traffic planners, take this responsibility away from us altogether. As I have often said, an awful amount of this lack of perception, can be traced right back as far as our design professionals and the schools they run for training young designing talents - the lack of acceptance, that space is a four-dimension movement of people through time and space,... rather than a nice 3-D graphic, which gets you an A in your examinations,... is what has cost, this country and it's attempts to conceptualise and design urban space, very dearly now.


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Re: Westmoreland / D'Olier Streets

Postby garethace » Sat Aug 06, 2005 6:16 pm

I decided to post up, this separate thread here to examine the issue I am talking about specifically.

http://www.archiseek.com/content/showthread.php?p=37948#post37948

That in reality, we cannot even manage to look after the existing public pedestrian spaces, that we already have, not to mind creating more, which will just suffer from the same old problems, and total lack of perception that the older ones have. I am referring to things here, like my highlighting of the 'flower seller' phenomenon on Grafton Street, which Dubin City seems to believe is a creative way to use public open space. I would argue that it exemplifies our lack of creativity in dealing with the challenge that is the design of public urban space. While the announcement of a proposal to pedestrianise Westmoreland Street is calculated to create the 'shock effect', and probably has done so,... I think it ignores a great percentage of the design problem,... namely Dublin city's lack of a spatial imagination and capability to deal with the spaces we already have.

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Re: Westmoreland / D'Olier Streets

Postby sjpclarke » Mon Aug 08, 2005 11:23 am

garethace - I wnat to take issue with a number of your above points:

Cow Lane: I'm unsure as to where you stand on Cow Lane. You seem to like it beacuse it has no linkages and is something of an oasis ("Cow's Lane is a good example of a beautiful pedestrian space") but berate the business community for not seizing on this ("people avoid the place whenever possible"). Cow Lane is a nice piece of urban interior design but fails as a pedestrain space and there fore a business space because it does not work in the larger urban context / network. Its a road to nowhere and people don't walk down roads to nowhere. No linkages as you rightly point out. My friend had a shop down there for a year or so and to watch the dearth of footfall was depressing - sometimes there would be nobody on the street at all. Space Syntax research backs this up: http://www.spacesyntax.com/

Curved Street: Following the above line the linkage of this street is far better but less than ideal. The real problem here is to my mind in the architecture of the two cultural buildings having almost zero effective street frontage - and a history of poor programming and managment. The issue of street drinking is the job of the Guarda.

Meeting House Sq: Not the success (apart from the great street market and the ourdoor films) that Meeting House Sq is again for reasons of connectiveity.

Urban design / management: A fluid area certainly. You quote the problems with the North Quays / Millenuim Bridge junction. Surely Dublin Corpo have powers with regard to pavement trading which can and should be enforced.

Wesmorland Street: Would love to see the LUAS routed down here and would favour perhaps taxi provision. A public space of this size requires life - movement etc. Further study needed.

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Re: Westmoreland / D'Olier Streets

Postby GregF » Mon Aug 08, 2005 2:37 pm

Rory W wrote:They would have been niches to begin with rather than bricked up


Dont forget too that there was a window tax in such times.
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Re: Westmoreland / D'Olier Streets

Postby garethace » Mon Aug 08, 2005 8:56 pm

Shane, I am going to be really rude and obnoxious here, now, but please take it as me, just poking some fun at you,...

...unfortunately, I think you may be a little too familar with a concept like 'Success Oriented Management'. That is not surprising, as I believe, a lot of the large institutions, involved in spatial design in Ireland these days, have succummed to a similar faith. I tried to argue in this thread here:

http://www.archiseek.com/content/showthread.php?t=4206

...that perhaps, our urban projects, are being built on a model, whereby the designer spends all of the money at once, and the only way people have of looking 'at the costs' of a project,... are just by looking at the construction costs. Often in spanking new urban developments, it is the investment of time, expertise and energy that is spent after the construction phase has been completed, is much more important. Many Architects have known for years about the problems in social housing schemes both here and abroad, has been the lack of attention of those 'projects' after their final completion, as opposed to their initial design and construction. As Architects, focussed too much on merely the project nowadays, and it's successful completion, with so many awards and recognition lavished upon designers, at that stage of the project's lifecycle, I just wonder,... rather, no, I am positively sure,... there is a much larger and more useful role that spatial designers can play in the working of our environment,... that the current role they seem restricted to.

The problem was accurately described recently in Science. NASA 'invented' a technique called Success Oriented Management (SOM) to control space shuttle development. It assumes that everything will go right. As one official put it, 'It means you design everything to cost and then pray.' The intention was to eliminate parallel and possibly redundant development in test hardware, in response to the current cost pressures facing the agency. But as Science - and others - have noted, the program has led to wholesale deferrals of difficult work, embarassing accidents, expensive redesigns, erratic staffing, and the illusion that everything is running well. 'The net effect of this management approach,' says Science, 'has been an absense of realistic plans, inadequate understanding of the status of the program, and the accumulation of schedule and cost deficits without visibility.'


I spoke a little about 'Complexity', in this thread here:

http://www.archiseek.com/content/showthread.php?t=3076&page=3

I recognise how the 'Cow's Lane' comments of mine were inconsistent, and even contradictory,... You know what, that is something I left in the writing, after having read it a couple of times,... just to see if anyone would notice the contradiction. The idea of 'Both-And', as opposed to 'Either-Or', is something everyone should try to grasp in relation to viewing urban design problems I think. It is really 'cool' and worth while, to see complexity and contradiction in the environment, all around you, and Robert Venturi's book on the subject is worth looking into, if this idea intrigues you, as it does myself. Another apparent contradiction in the study of Social Science, that I am quite fond of, and applies very well to the experience of Grafton Street these days is:

Nobody goes there anymore, because it has become too crowded.


I think 'Wisdom of Crowds', has a nice chapter talking around that idea,... two hard copy editions cropped up cheap this week, in Hoggis Figgis basement, if you are interested in that book btw. Finally, I think the piece above;

'It means you design everything to cost and then pray.'


Is basically what is wrong with urban design projects in Ireland presently, not the design, or the architecture per se. We must lack the right synergy between commercial minds and design minds, to pull off our projects convincingly,... this goes for the pheripheral centres I think, just as much as it goes for the central shopping districts. The only difference being, that Dundrum, Blanchardstown, Liffey Valley etc, seem to excercise more of a control over people within their space. Which has the flower sellers, and sidewalk coffee/wine drinking explosion in Dublin city centre, points out,... Dublin City Corporation do not have control of the situation at all. The whole issue has been like a political football lately, with everyone blasting the ball off each other's shins. In this situation it is impossible to figure out at all, where the ball has been, where it is now, and where it will be in the future.

This point is especially important, as design of urban space, should be approached in a four dimensional sense, as opposed to a three dimensional - design and construct - way. We cannot go on building new streets adn new spaces, unless we fully understand what has already gone on, what is happening now, and have some clue, about what we hope to achieve in our next attempt. That is why I call for designer's to be employed to re-visit their urban designs, even after they have been completed,... to learn from the real thing,... and to foster the kind of 'Test it out' mentality,... so badly needed. For instance, the retail boxes on Chapel Street bridge, being a classic example of a three dimensional conception of the project - design, detail and build - as opposed to a four-dimensional conception - as in Project Lifecycle Management - where the designer is invited back afterwards.

This notion of 'building in learning' to the project endeavour is not a new one btw, you only have to look at the automobile industry today, where the service garage plugs the car into a computer, when you have it serviced,... or the design of most any kind of machinery, photocopiers even - everything nowadays - has a digital heartbeat - something that connects in back to home base, to report flaws in the design, and crucial information for the designer trying to understand how to approach the next new design. Why can urban design, not have this dimension too? And from what I have seen in terms of the pitiful attempt to combine business creativity with design creativity - in Dublin's city centre - this kind of approach, is sorely needed.


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Re: Westmoreland / D'Olier Streets

Postby sjpclarke » Tue Aug 09, 2005 12:06 pm

garethace - If thats rude and obnoxious you must be the nicest fella in Dublin! You don't seem to have taken issue with any of my points. As it happens I completey agree that urban design is at least a 4D practice and one that should be based on both aesthetic considertions but MORE importantly on practical, pragmatic, and inductive considerations and grounded in research. No arguement there. If a space doesn't work - wether through original design flaws, a change in the context or via poor managment, then tackle it intelligently. The approach you suggest sounds very sensible in principal - in practice? Also, you mention the new shopping centres that the the city centre has to compete with. You can be assurded that the developers and their consultants are extreemly practical in their design decision and that research plays a very large part in those decisions - look at how supermarkets organise their items lanes as a simple example. Public space needs to counter with a similar approach but one based on civic principals rather than profit. Shane
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Re: Westmoreland / D'Olier Streets

Postby StephenC » Tue Aug 09, 2005 5:10 pm

You put forward a very good arguement here Brian. I think I would have to agree that the actual physical design of most of the new developments in Dublin has been quite good. Most of our new spaces, streets and public areas look very well and have been finished off very well. But it is true that the actual management of these spaces is very poor..Temple Bar is a very good example despite the fact that a whole company was devoted to its management until recently.

You make the point about shopping centres and their management of their customers. I suppose the difference here is that shopping centres are money-making machines which seek to extract every possible cent from their customers. To do this they employ a variety of psychological methods particularly in relation to how their customers percieve their shopping environment - colour, sound, layout, sensual images all combined. Im not sure I would feel happy about a local authority working at the same subliminal level. Not that they could. Their role is much more complex than that I suppose.

Perhaps this notion of BIDs will change the was we manage our public arena (Business Improvement Districts). Perhaps some of that shopping centre know-how could be targeted into managing urban spaces better.

Good debate - thanks

Interestingly about the kiosks I would LOVE to see the deigner returnto the scene of his crime in light of how awful these are beginning to look.
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Re: Westmoreland / D'Olier Streets

Postby garethace » Tue Aug 09, 2005 9:14 pm

Interestingly about the kiosks I would LOVE to see the deigner return to the scene of his crime in light of how awful these are beginning to look.


I think the achievement of good architecture, is very much up to the client,... if the client is not firm and business-like enough,... in what he/she/it is willing to pay up money for,.. then the designer will just trump up with, whatever suits them. If the client makes it too easy for the spatial designer,... and gives them a heap of cash all in one lump,.. what do you expect will happen? Yeah, you've already guessed it,... a quite monopolistic dynasty of spatial designers,... who regularly import an army of foreign designers, on demand, as the boom times demand they should. If you think about it,... having completed a design and build of any urban project,... the only connection, thereafter between designer and the project, is a negative one - that of liability. This is written into the code, in the form of 'The Building Regulations'. I mean, why can't you turn that around - and try to make what was previously seen as a negative 'aspect' of a spatial designer's responsibility - into a much more positive one instead? If you think about it, it is this consciousness of this 'negative aftermath' to designing and building an urban project - that could be responsible for a serious amount of poor urban design. On a related note, about Complexity and Contradition in Architecture,... isn't the car - person, person - car, inhabited street, yet another example made in Robert Venturi's book? An example of the 'Both-And' inclusive strategy towards spatial design, as opposed to an exclusive 'Either-Or' one? I mean, if you want to a very accurate picture of what Westmoreland Street with 'all pedestrians' would really feel like,... then about all one has to do, is show up on the said street on any St. Patrick's day, and you will know how uncomfortable it does feel, to have loads of boozy, daft people wandering around, ready to do something at any moment - how do you even attempt to police that situation?


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Re: Westmoreland / D'Olier Streets

Postby Frank Taylor » Wed Aug 10, 2005 12:53 am

garethace wrote: I mean, if you want to a very accurate picture of what Westmoreland Street with 'all pedestrians' would really feel like,... then about all one has to do, is show up on the said street on any St. Patrick's day, and you will know how uncomfortable it does feel, to have loads of boozy, daft people wandering around, ready to do something at any moment - how do you even attempt to police that situation?
You know well that crowd behaviour on St Patrick's Day is not indicative of the normal behaviour of Irish pedestrians. Are you suggesting that the presence of private cars in an urban space is a civilising force for humanity?

One major consequence of sharing urban space between drivers and pedestrians is fear and anxiety. Every junction is a chance to die. Forget to look left and right and hello destiny. Hold your toddler's arm in a death grip or lose your child. Shout your conversation over the din of traffic noise. We're so used to this that it's hard to imagine otherwise.
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Re: Westmoreland / D'Olier Streets

Postby GrahamH » Wed Aug 10, 2005 12:57 am

Then again, it's the buses that are the worst culprits in Dublin City bar the trucks on the quays for generating noise and intimidating people.
It is these supposedly untouchable public service vehicles that make so much of the capital unpleasant for pedestrians - not private cars.

I'd have O'Connell St packed full of cars any day over the comparitively meagre amount of buses there presently - same with Westmoreland Street.
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Re: Westmoreland / D'Olier Streets

Postby Devin » Wed Aug 10, 2005 2:21 am

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Re: Westmoreland / D'Olier Streets

Postby Morlan » Wed Aug 10, 2005 2:43 am

Devin wrote:[IMG]http://img219.imageshack.us/img219/6575/westmstwestinhses29xc.jpg[/IM]

[IMG]http://img83.imageshack.us/img83/5867/98aftdem22sh.jpg[/IM]

[IMG]http://img85.imageshack.us/img85/2544/dscn036113uv.jpg[/IM]


What the hell was wrong with the 3 buildings that were there before? They looked fine to me.
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Re: Westmoreland / D'Olier Streets

Postby Mob79 » Wed Aug 10, 2005 11:34 am

I like the new building, i think it's one of the best examples of a new building in the city that is both traditional (sympathetic) yet modern and fresh, something kinda parisian about it.
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Re: Westmoreland / D'Olier Streets

Postby Devin » Thu Aug 11, 2005 3:56 pm

It’s not bad. Though I think the Parisian look has more to do with getting a few stories in above the parapet!
There seems to be a reference to the original Wide Streets Commissioners’ granite shopfronts of the street in the façade.

The demolition of the 3 original buildings and several others nearby to make way for the Westin Hotel (originally to be Hilton before they pulled out) was the major planning/conservation battle of the late ‘90s, and went to the courts.
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Re: Westmoreland / D'Olier Streets

Postby GrahamH » Thu Aug 11, 2005 8:20 pm

Another blow to the character of Westmoreland St, though I must admit to liking the replacement too - though it goes rather flat and cluttered above the cornice line of the third floor; it's much more distinguished below that. A facade that should age well - whatever about the less 'clean' job on the College St side...

What I've never got about this scheme though is why Treasury wanted to demolish these three facades - was it just to create a unified entrance block in the centre?!
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Re: Westmoreland / D'Olier Streets

Postby garethace » Thu Aug 11, 2005 9:21 pm

You know well that crowd behaviour on St Patrick's Day is not indicative of the normal behaviour of Irish pedestrians. Are you suggesting that the presence of private cars in an urban space is a civilising force for humanity?


I don't believe the automobile in an urban space is a civilising force for humanity,... but certainly, that the presence of people on an automobile thoroughfare, could be a civilising force for the automobile. As to the 'quality of buildings' on Westmoreland Street,.. I think you will all find, that in urban design, the design of the road, has a major effect on the kinds of buildings that 'appear' on the sites flanking the road - or for that matter, on the way they are perceived, on the way in which they are used. Yet this simple observation, has managed to escape a large proportion of people now actively involved in spatial design. This is one of my major 'gripes' with the 'style police' here at Archiseek, and in the Irish scene in general,.. with all of this focus, upon the 'objects' either side of the road,... they have neglected a debate which should have happened, in relation to the spaces that are left between the objects. I regularly notice this problem, in quite new master plans and such here in Ireland, and abroad,... the whole discussion being largely stuck around matters of 'style' of what facadism we shall have along the thoroughfares,... with very little acknowledgement given, to the treatment of the thoroughfares themselves.

The demolition of the 3 original buildings and several others nearby to make way for the Westin Hotel (originally to be Hilton before they pulled out) was the major planning/conservation battle of the late ‘90s, and went to the courts.


The mere fact alone, that this issue even managed to tie up so many valuable resources of debate and discussion, through the 1990s,.. is suspicious to begin with,... and doesn't speak very highly of the intelligence of the discussion going on in the 1990s. This is indeed a sad fact, we are all paying for now. We haven't acquired the necessary 'tools' to disect and carefully examine, what a new scheme is proposing to do,... or rather not doing. I notice the 'visualisation renderings' of many new developments, such as Stillorgan Shopping Centre, and the like,... have been very careful,... to make the discussion, into a discussion about 'facadism',... because the Irish planner's vocabulary, in trying to envisage a new development,... is painfully limited,.. to just a word-play of 'Materials, Treatment, Expression, balconies',.. arranged in various orders,... often, it is like an infantile 'tape recording',... planners do not appear to have the necessary design and spatial vocabulary, or even perception to understand what they are needed to look at,... in terms of complex urban sites. Which is all the more reason, I believe, that Architects should be tasked with the responsible review of urban design, before and after, the building construction has occured. I think it is also worth linking this 'Monderman' stuff again I think,...

http://www.archiseek.com/content/showthread.php?t=3896&page=2

....one of the few European cultures to have become very 'people-behavioural-centric' in the post-war period, has been Holland, and it has managed to produced some of the most interesting debate, about people living and inhabiting spaces I think. It looks more at the social implications of good or bad design, rather than at the style. And from this very point of view,... the crowd behaviour of Temple Bar and Grafton Street has seriously deteriorated I believe,... All the 'pedestrianisation' of Westmoreland Street could hope to do really, is to JOIN together, two rather poor examples of human social behaviour. As Herman Hertzberger points out in his talks,... the pursuit of architecture is not meant to give people 'what they want',.. but rather to 'raise' people. I don't think what is refered to as 'pedestrianisation',... has done an awful lot 'to raise' people,... and enough of evidence out there at the present, would even point to the opposite,.. that people have rather been lowered,... by this completely artificial construct known as 'pedestrianisation'. The main brunt of pedestrianisation is a concessionary one,... because if the authority wants to 'ban' the people out of the equation on certain stretches,.. it offers 'pedestrianisation' as a peace pipe, on the other extreme,.. to demonstrate, what the authority is doing 'for' pedestrians. With the results, that pedestrians choke a street such as Henry Street, while cars choke a street like Parnell Street. Walk along the route of Parnell Street any time you want, if you want to see 'pedestrians' taken out of the equation. This comes from the widespread popularity amongst design professionals of something called 'masterplanning',... pedestrianisation, is a term coined directly out of the practice of 'masterplanning',... and masterplanning in turn, itself, exists,... NOT because it is the best way to go about the design and construction of major urban projects,.. but simply because it presents the most convenient way possible,.. for the few monopolistic dynasties around,... to take all of the money associated with urban design, out of the kitty, in one large chunk,... As opposed to building a piece, waiting to see how that works, building another piece,... and gradually over the space of time, knit something together, which takes most of the issues into serious consideration. Bear in mind, this is how the villages and towns of Ireland would have often developed anyhow,... as the resources of a community permitted development and expansion to take place. Of course the wonders of capitalism, has produced a 'breed of spatial planner',... who in order to facilitate, large sums of money, being put into a site quickly, and then being taken out again almost as fast,... we have 'invented' this abomination known as the 'masterplan',... which is not really a masterplan, in spatial terms, but a masterplan in terms of Euro and profiteering. A necessary adjunct, to this 'masterplanning' practice,... is, yeah, you have guessed it,... a very exclusive, tightly-knit, monopolistic dynasty of spatial designers. But in going this route, the spatial designer, has in effect lost most of their important skill base, and thereby ignored practically all of the major social issues associated with urban space and the people who inhabit that space. You are reduced to a very, very few nowadays, like Herman Hertzberger, who at least try to put, social aspects in spatial design, firmly back on the map,... or on the radar at least, where at least some bright, young aspiring spatial designers might stumble across that aspect of urban design.

But getting back again to Dublin City,... Parnell street is just one busy speedway used exclusively by cars, dangerous queueing and swirfing into 'shoots' which carry them up to multi-storey shelves of parking lots. If 'Westmoreland' Street is being planned as a pedestrianised place,.. then you can bet your last euro,... that Dublin City Council is already 'thinking' about some parallel cunning scheme, to facilitate the massive influx of people in cars that are supposed to arrive in that area,.. the 'shoppers' and such, required to 'populate' the said newly created pedestrianised 'ZONE'. That is urban design, in a 'cause and effect', mathematical, machine-like format,... and one which presents a need amongst people in a position to execute these plans,.. to control everything down to the last tiny detail,... and displays a total lack of understanding in how cities work as places we can inhabit, grow and prosper. You need to look at the fourth dimension usually to see, what is going on, in urban design,... whenever you see a 'pedestrianised' street choc-full of people with loads of shopping bags, ask yourself the question, how did these people all get here, and usually the answer is a speedway like Parnell Street with loads of ramps and lay-by shoots leading to stacks of parking. It is worth looking at what 'Moore's Street' has become nowadays, it is worth looking at what the site, directly on the corner of Parnell Street and Moore Street is set to become nowadays,... and consider that Moore Street has been 'left out' of the picture totally, while Henry Street was being revamped. It is unnerving today, to walk between Parnell Street, dodging cars, and trying to manage on very crapped and dangerous sidewalks, then move along Moore Street and wonder where did you take a turn into war-torn Beiruit, and finally end up in Henry Street, and wonder what are all of these folks doing 'bunched' up together like sardines, and thinking this is an enjoyable, satisfying way to shop,... or something,... to realise, that we don't know as yet how to do urban design in this country. We still don't seem to have the knack. In the face of that conclusion, the only strategy I can imagine, is to look to the young people we have, to offer the problems to them, by training them somehow in spatial design,... rather than the small, closely-knit, exclusive world that is spatial design nowadays,... just 'open' it up altogether to some fresh new ideas,... given, that the existing system, is merely churning out the same old solutions, that didn't work before, and certainly don't work now.


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Re: Westmoreland / D'Olier Streets

Postby garethace » Sat Aug 13, 2005 7:39 pm

I always like to look 'outside' the fields of architecture and urban planning, to gain some insight from what other disiplines, other industries have discovered in trying to manage difficult and complex problems. Tom Peter's classic book, In Search of Excellence, is a good place to look for interesting views on the matter. On the subject of spatial designers in Ireland, and their lack of contact, with the artifacts of their toil,... either before or after a brick has been laid down,... I think the following quote illustrates the point well:

Thus, when 'touch it', 'taste it', 'smell it' become the watch-words, the results are most often extradordinary. Equally extraordinay are the lengths to which people will go to avoid the test-it experience. Fred Hooven, protege of Orville Wright, holder of thirty-eight major patents, and senior engineering faculty member at Dartmouth, describes a ludicrous, yet all-too-typical, case: 'I can think of three instances in my career in which my client was making no progress on a complicated mechanical probelm, and I insisted that the engineers and the technicians (model builders) be put in the same room. In each case the solution came rapidly. One objection I remember being offered was that if we put the engineers in the same room with the shop it would get the drawings dirty.' Hooven adds, in support of the overall point, 'The engineer must have immediate and informal access to whatever facilities he needs to put his ideas into practice.... It cost more to make drawings of a piece than to make the piece, and the drawing is only one-way communication, so that when the engineer gets his piece back he has probably forgotten why he wanted it, and will find out that it doesn't work because he made a mistake in the drawings, or that it needs a small change in some respect, which too often takes another four months to make right.


The next bit, is about what Tom Peters calls 'Excellent Companies', and how the Excellent companies make sure, good people are tasked to review and examine the investment proposal carefully. This is increasingly hard to do, given how exclusive, few and monopolistic our spatial design professionals have become. We do not have the debate, focus or determination to give serious considerations, to an urban design proposal.

Brian O' Hanlon.

The is no more important trait among the excellent companies than an action orientation. It seems almost trivial: experiments, ad hoc task foces, small groups, temporary structures. Whether it's the introduction of IBM's System 360 (a seminal event in the American business history) or a three-day ad hoc task force at Digital, these companies, despite their vast size, are seldom stymied by overcomplexity. They don't give in and create permanent committees or task forces that last for years. They don't indulge in long reports. Nor do they install formall matrixes. They live in accord with the basic human limitations we described earlier: people can only handle a little bit of information at one time, and they thrive if they perceive themselves as even somewhat autonomous (e.g., experimenting modestly).

The major complaint about organisations is that they have become more complex than is necessary. Refreshingly, the excellent companies are responding by saying: If you've got a major problem, bring the right people together and expect them to solve it. The 'right people' very often means senior people who 'don't have the time'. But they do, somehow, have the time at Digital, TI, HP, 3M, IBM, Dana, Fluor, Emeson, Becthtel, McDonald's, Cititbank, Boeing, Delta, et al. They have the time in those institutions because those companies aren't transfixed with the organisation charts or job descriptions or that authority exactly matches responsibility. Ready. Fire. AIm. Learn from your tries. That's enough.
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Re: Westmoreland / D'Olier Streets

Postby PVC King » Sat Aug 13, 2005 8:33 pm

In 1997 I gave a mutual freind £50 to prevent these

Devin wrote: Image



becoming this

Devin wrote:Image


but I can't help feeling that this

Devin wrote:Image


looks quite well.

The originals could have been restored and I can't help feeling that the developers would now be looking at something a little newer as infill as opposed to the type of building in the first image for a similar semi facade retention project.
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Re: Westmoreland / D'Olier Streets

Postby garethace » Sat Aug 13, 2005 8:53 pm

But it is rather interesting, how the system, has even managed to 'hood-wink' someone as open-minded and knowledgeable as yourself about urban and spatial design,... into falling for the old, 'It's a debate about a facade',... kind of high-jacking of the debate about urban design here in Ireland. The fact, that you were moved to even spend anything on this, well, it just goes to show, how much the entire system is leading everyone around like a bull by the nose. Opportunities have been sorely missed to engage in some of the really 'meaty' issues in regards to the design of the environment. This is really, why you need to train the architects to become part of the debate and review process. Because these are very much, the kinds of people, who are able to grasp exactly what is going on,... otherwise, you are just furnished with the poverity of a debate about colours and textures of bricks,... which is just what the 'masterplan-builders', want you to be engaged in. While they manage to throw up even more and more damn bricks, through the use of much larger and larger volumes of credit available through the banking system here in Ireland. I mean, it is not the masterplan builder who is going to foot the bill, for these monstrous projects, at the end of the day,... the builder's money only stays 'on site' for a relatively short length of time and space,... it is the public's own money, which will be made to 'pay' for the developments over a period of decades. It is interesting to note though, how in an era, where shops in Dublin open up, selling designer chairs for 250.00 Euro,... and it begins at that price mark, and goes up,... that the very profession, that of architecture, which could be of use to people nowadays in making all kinds of buying or investing decisions, to do with living space, and public space,... that profession of architecture, is currently tied up by one of the worst monopolies we have in the country. It makes taxis drivers, and what-not look postively benign,.. and again, I reiterate, this existence of a spatial designer monopoly, has got no useful reason to exist in 2005. Despite some arguments, that could have been made for it, in the 1980s.


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