South Great George's Street

South Great George's Street

Postby GrahamH » Thu Oct 06, 2005 12:07 am

The buildings emerging on Sth Great George's St are looking very encouraging - unashamedly contemporary while respecting the grain of the area.

Can't remember what was on the sites in question before, other than they were of the offensive variety - I'm sure someone can fill us in :)

Some pics, the first showing the new building going up almost opposite the South City Markets:

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I think it reinforces the streetscape very well, perfectly replicating the distinctively rhythmic Victorian window courses of this street. Saying that, the colour is perhaps a bit wishy washy, and it has an 80s postmodern feel to it.
Overall a decent piece though; nice and chunky like its neighbours, it looks especially well looking south:

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A pity some deeper window profliles weren't gone for I think, just the predicable flat grey frames favoured for most office developments:

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The corner with Stephen St is going to be quite striking by the looks of things:

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Not sure how this is going to tie in with the very sad looking facade retention of the neighbouring Victorian...


Further up Stephen St the old Dunlop factory with its retained (and presumably protected) facade is getting this treatment:

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Re: South Great George's Street

Postby Frank Taylor » Thu Oct 06, 2005 10:51 am

Is this site still owned by Dunnes Stores?

Further down the same street towards Dame Street, are the large offices of the revenue which must rank amongst the most revolting buildings in Dublin.
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Re: South Great George's Street

Postby notjim » Thu Oct 06, 2005 11:45 am

A few years ago there was talk of recladding these to make them more vertical, less horizonal in appearance, also, I think, to split them into two buildings, with different claddings and a passage between to castle, what happened to that?
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Re: South Great George's Street

Postby ctesiphon » Thu Oct 06, 2005 1:10 pm

To the best of my knowledge the site is still owned by Dunnes Stores. If I remember correctly, they wanted to clear the whole site for redevelopment, but the Long Hall pub wouldn't budge. Aside from being a Protected Structure, it is held in some sort of trust by the staff - left to them by the owner - which prevents them from selling it. I'm hazy on the details- anyone know any more? So Dunnes had to incorporate it into their rejigged scheme. Can't have been easy for the pub, particularly when all around it was being excavated; pity the foundations. Don't know whether the two redbricks nearer the corner are PSs, though.
The buildings there prior to this new one were a mixture of relatively decent and somewhat non-descript three- and four-storey nineteenth century (?) ones which Dunnes had been systematically buying up over the course of a few years and allowing to fall into dereliction- presumably they've had plans for the site for a number of years. And any city council would prefer a shiny new corporate hq to a row of tatty, unloved old shops... There was also a fire in the late 1990s between the Dunlop building and the corner of George's St- two (possibly) Georgians? I have print photos at home somewhere of the corner pre-redevelopment- I'll try to get them on here somehow.
I'm glad they kept the Dunlop one, but I'm not convinced by that top-heavy glazed area above, and though the new George's St building admittedly has its merits, it's yet another example of the scaling up of the city centre by stealth. I'd be a happier camper if the facade had been slightly more modelled to reflect the original plot divisions.
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Re: South Great George's Street

Postby lunasa » Thu Oct 06, 2005 1:21 pm

...and there'll be a new street leading to the grounds of Dublin Castle. Quaint tourist route, CB Library then Ship Street toSt. Patrick's.
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Re: South Great George's Street

Postby notjim » Thu Oct 06, 2005 1:23 pm

thank god they kept the long hall!
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Re: South Great George's Street

Postby ctesiphon » Thu Oct 06, 2005 1:33 pm

For sure, notjim- particularly as the recently sold Stag's Head is slowly rechristening itself the Stag's and Hen's Head. Another one bites the dust.
Long live the Long Hall (so much more bearable since the smoking ban- must have been one of the worst ventilated pubs in the city).
Was anyone ever in the Long Hall when it had its actual long hall, i.e. the screened entrance hall running the length of the bar? I was but a bairn when it was taken out. There's a photocopied illustration of it behind the bar.
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Re: South Great George's Street

Postby kefu » Thu Oct 06, 2005 5:45 pm

All five from 47-51 George's Street are protected structures. 51 is the Long Hall. 47 is the first building on the left and 48-50 is the middle three.
Interestingly, the only other listed buildings on the street are the Markets and Number 65, which is part of what used to be Sosume bar. It has changed its name again recently and evades me at the moment.
I think the building Frank refers to is Wicklow House where the Revenue are. But there is also something called Castle House, which is where Yamamori and all that are, and it's pretty wicked too, I think.
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Re: South Great George's Street

Postby GrahamH » Thu Oct 06, 2005 5:59 pm

Agreed with Frank - those by now infamous first buildings on the street have to be amongst the worst in the city.
They're somewhat unique all the same in that they are really the only buildings in Dublin one could most closely describe as Brutalist. Despite all the rubbish thrown up in Dublin in the 60s and 70s, very little of it if any was really in the Brutalist idiom - even Hawkins House doesn't really fit into the category, it's just a cheap building that happens to made of concrete :)

The George's St concrete 'terrace' really forces itself into its environs quite unlike any other building in Dublin. And again, unlike most of the stuff built in city at the time, it's a building that looks like it has come directly from a British city - you can really imagine it sitting in Coventry or Glasgow.
Not that I'm advocating its protection or anything...:)

That's interesting what you say notjim about the new street, a nice idea - so that's what the curved facade is for.
A pity about the Victorians disappearing as you describe ctesiphon; I thought the street was littered with stuff similar to the concrete blocks further down, so clearly not.

The red brick of this street is a really lovely feature - the building directly across the road from the new curved building being a very fine example with really deep window reveals and rounded brickwork. It went to auction a few months ago...

So is Dunnes opening a megastore in these new buildings in the pics?
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Re: South Great George's Street

Postby jimg » Thu Oct 06, 2005 7:02 pm

Agreed on that building; it's vile and possibly my least favourite in the city especially because of it's affect on what is largely a very attractive, lively and interesting street. I've a vague memory of reading that the building was never designed for Georges Street - it was designed as a stand alone building in a business park. The builders bought the plans to save money. I also remember seeing plans a few years ago for its replacement - I didn't really fancy the replacement personally but I guess it couldn't have been worse. It was to incorporate a new entrace into the Castle and would have formed part of a new pedestrian route from Grafton St. via Wicklow St. to the Castle. It will be very hard to replace that building because the scale of any replacement is not going to match that of the rest of the street and it will also have to follow a slope. The latter is something that the existing building does horribly. Also it's far longer than the new Dunnes one. I agree that the new Dunnes building beside the Long Hall is not bad but I was absolutely disgusted when the earlier buildings were leveled; yes they were run down (deliberately so) but they still fitted into the context of the street perfectly. From what I recall they were all similar in age/style to the Long Hall building. I was shocked to see them suddenly gone, being under the impression that historic building stock was valued by planners these days.
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Re: South Great George's Street

Postby TLM » Thu Oct 06, 2005 7:10 pm

I think it's great to see stuff going on on George's St. In my opinion it's one of the most interesting in the city. The new street to the castle sounds like a good idea too. What use are all these developments being put to though?
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Re: South Great George's Street

Postby ctesiphon » Thu Oct 06, 2005 9:20 pm

kefu- I think Sosume became The Dragon?
jimg- I know what you mean about those previous buildings. While they might not have been first-rank city buildings, they were important constituents of this varied streetscape and contributed much to its character.
Graham/TLM- afaik, the Dunnes building is to house their head office, though I don't know what the groundfloor is to be used for- looks like retail. Perhaps the Dunnes outlet in the Market Arcade will be moving? I doubt it, as the other location seems ideal and must get significantly more footfall that the west side of the street.

Off to try and find those other pics in the 'archive' (read: top of the wardrobe).
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Re: South Great George's Street

Postby notjim » Thu Oct 06, 2005 9:27 pm

i thought someone told me that it was going to be a dunnes clothes only store.
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Re: South Great George's Street

Postby ctesiphon » Fri Oct 07, 2005 6:34 pm

kefu- while I was on George's St today I checked (and nearly broke my ankle on the kerb outside the Globe as I was looking up- the things I do for Archiseek :) ) and Castle House and Wicklow House are almost the same building- both are parts of the monster. Yamamori is in the Walton's School of Music building- a (probably) once fine Victorian building whose ground floor has been horribly mucked about, with almost full glazing and a weird mezzanine level. Most odd.

Here are those pics of the old corner pre-redevelopment. Sorry for the quality, but they're digital pics of 4-5 year old prints sellotaped together. :o Should be sufficient to get a feel for what was there originally. As you can see, there were a couple of Georgians (see the bulky chimney stack?) on Stephen Street- this was the site of the fire I mentioned previously. And you can make out, just about, the buildings that once stood on the George's St side of the Dunnes site, though as is so often the way the ones I really want to show aren't the focus of the pic, and it's now too late to rectify.
Seems my previous description ("a mixture of relatively decent and somewhat non-descript three- and four-storey nineteenth century (?) ones") wasn't too far off. :cool: I particularly like the pair with the bold cornice below attic level (which are probably early 20th c.- I have a more recent pic of their demolition, showing what seems to be concrete frame construction).

Image

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Re: South Great George's Street

Postby GrahamH » Fri Oct 07, 2005 8:04 pm

Thanks for those pics - it's always good to get a broader perspective on things with older but nonetheless recent photographs.
The problem is that because new pictures are by definition new, they tend to be deleted or prints disposed of once their original purpose has been fulfilled, with sometimes the only record of a place disappearing.

Could not agree more about the buildings further down Georges St being knocked; their tall and elegant proportions and use of red brick helped make this street what it is. There is no question that these should have been preserved. Wish these pics hadn't been posted now!

Whereas I'd generally be conservation-minded, I'd be in two minds though about retaining the corner building and those two-storeys in Stephen St in light of what seems to be a very striking structure going up now, along with a new street to the Castle. It's quite innovative, and seems to breathing a new life into the street, creating an eye-catching building for the area in the process.

If the corner building could've been properly restored to its former what seems to be Georgian glory, things would be quite different, not least as that in itself would have been quite stunning at this junction - but if faced with the option of having the current structure going up, or a repainted mediocre rendered box on the corner, I'd have to admit to going for the former...

It's a difficult one, not least as I'm always fascinated with the amount of similar Georgian remnants scattered all along George's St, Aungier St and Camden St - lots of original windows peeking out from horribly rendered and uncared for facades.

If there is such a thing as 'the greater good', it feels like it is being achieved with this new corner street and building...
What do others think?
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Re: South Great George's Street

Postby PVC King » Fri Oct 07, 2005 8:11 pm

I am also of a similar position; I usually don't like to see the loss of built heritage;

But in this case the curved elevation onto Stephen St is of real quality; and in many ways it is the perfect scale to develop a city at; I like this unified scheme and feel that Leitrim House has preserved its status at the top of the architectural hierarchy.

The entire complex also appears to have been withdrawn from the market after a summer with joneslang; I can only speculate that Dunnes will afterall by occupying the premises. Whilst on the subject of marketing I was very impressed by the signage on the scheme and the way that the end gable was used for the board as opposed to the front elevation of a protected structure.
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Re: South Great George's Street

Postby GrahamH » Fri Oct 07, 2005 8:14 pm

That's only because it was facing the oncoming traffic ;)
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Re: South Great George's Street

Postby PVC King » Fri Oct 07, 2005 8:19 pm

True,

But a giant V-Board would have caught both sides.

Des Byrne as immediate past President of the SCS was very vocal on heritage; I am happy that his Druker Fanning practice is implementing his policies.
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Re: South Great George's Street

Postby Frank Taylor » Fri Oct 07, 2005 8:26 pm

left myself logged in...
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Re: South Great George's Street

Postby ctesiphon » Fri Oct 07, 2005 9:01 pm

That's a persuasive argument you make about Stephen Street. The new opening will certainly be an interesting addition to the pedestrian adventure, and the new building suits the context of the Dunlop better. If the George's St ones were to be kept, it sounds like a fair trade-off.

Graham Hickey wrote:prints disposed of once their original purpose has been fulfilled,

If only you knew the truth... :o
I have the hoarding tendency (disease?)- I recently spent some time, not entirely without occasional moments of enjoyment, throwing out a bunch of newspapers, some dating back to 1999. Just, sort of, never got round to it. They made for interesting reading.
So it won't surprise you to know that photos don't really get thrown away. I took the digital plunge a few months ago.
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Re: South Great George's Street

Postby Morlan » Sat Oct 08, 2005 5:02 am

Great shots Graham.

ctesiphon, here's patched together version of your scan:

Image
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Re: South Great George's Street

Postby kefu » Sat Oct 08, 2005 11:30 am

It's very interesting what long-term dereliction can do to you. When I saw that this site was finally being developed, I was absolutely delighted because the ground floor of these premises had been vacant for so many years. But when you see a picture like above, you realise we're still losing the fabric of the city in a wholesale way. The Georgians are safe, but almost everything else is disposable.
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Re: South Great George's Street

Postby ctesiphon » Sat Oct 08, 2005 2:10 pm

Thanks for that, Morlan.
I'm pretty handy when it comes to invisible mending with a needle and thread, but photos have thus far eluded me. Funny how the corner buiding in the composite takes on a slightly Gehryesque feel with its bendy walls. :)
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Re: South Great George's Street

Postby Rory W » Mon Oct 24, 2005 6:46 pm

It's going to be Dunnes New HQ building - not sure about what retail element is on the ground floor though
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Re: South Great George's Street

Postby aj » Tue Oct 25, 2005 10:19 am

Rory W wrote:It's going to be Dunnes New HQ building - not sure about what retail element is on the ground floor though


its going to be new Dunnes Home Ware store.. i see the advertisements for it in the Dunnes in the Green Centre
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