Fair Play to Starbucks

Fair Play to Starbucks

Postby garethace » Sun Nov 27, 2005 9:59 pm

We have listened to the fanfare, absorbed the marketing sing song, but when it boils down to it the Irish 'cannot yet do' urban space. It requires a level of skill and sophistication that is apparently beyond our reach. The architectural schools do not seem capable of rising to the challenge of training designers either. We have nothing like a course to train young urban designers. One can observe the trend, of foreign business coming to Dublin and promptly showing us how it is done. Our own comfortable and highly paid executives, property consultants and developers are found to be napping at their wheels. Their eyes often wiped, by a more sophisticated, urban-savy kind of business brain.

What the natives continue to dish out can best be described as 'Amateur Hour'. The Italian quarter on the north side of the River Liffey springs to mind. Our attempts at being 'continental' have been pure uninterrupted puke. A lot of Irish people of self appointed importance waving their hands in the air, making a lot of noise and doing very little. Star Bucks cafe, recently opened on Dame Street in Dublin takes a small urban space with real potential. One which had been ignored by the planning and developer community here in Ireland for years. And using the bare minimum of effort have restored an urban space and suggested more possibilities. More re-interpretations of the space. That is, beyond taxi drivers using it as a dormitory. I could include a quote from The Art of War, which could do justice to the intervention by Star Bucks. But I think you have already gotten the point.


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Re: Fair Play to Star Bucks

Postby Morlan » Sun Nov 27, 2005 10:16 pm

Any pics?.
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Re: Fair Play to Star Bucks

Postby garethace » Sun Nov 27, 2005 10:19 pm

I will get them don't worry,

Or anyone else feel free to post up a pic or two.

But It just struck me this evening how obvious the point is - right in college green, where you just can't ignore it. We need to pull up our socks,... big time.

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Re: Fair Play to Star Bucks

Postby Morlan » Sun Nov 27, 2005 11:02 pm

I quite like the seating area outside Habitat with those anally pruned shrubs.

Has anyone had a coffee sitting on College Gr. yet? Just wondering what the 'buzz' is like, bit of a busy spot with the traffic.
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Re: Fair Play to Star Bucks

Postby Devin » Sun Nov 27, 2005 11:12 pm

Good point, Garethace. I can see that area being spontaneously colonised for ‘tables & chairs’ in the summertime, like the way other little spots around the city have; - the mouth of the laneway at the top of Sth. William Street between the pub and the café, and lately, the recessed space opposite The Bakery in Temple Bar west end.

And Foster Place is already very continental, with the trees, setts and classical buildings. And it wouldn’t lose the sun after 2pm like the Italian Quarter does. Could be the start of something…
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Re: Fair Play to Starbucks

Postby TLM » Mon Nov 28, 2005 3:59 pm

Would be great if it set the ball rolling in that area alright. The large volume of traffic in the area is quite an obstacle though.
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Re: Fair Play to Starbucks

Postby alpha » Mon Nov 28, 2005 4:21 pm

how could you hear yourself think with all the traffic buzzing around? i like to go where it is quiet for a coffee. such a place would be off grafton street.
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Re: Fair Play to Starbucks

Postby Morlan » Mon Nov 28, 2005 5:12 pm

It wouldn't be so bad if you were tucked away in Fosters Pl.
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Re: Fair Play to Starbucks

Postby jimg » Mon Nov 28, 2005 6:07 pm

If only they were able to make drinkable coffee.
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Re: Fair Play to Starbucks

Postby ctesiphon » Mon Nov 28, 2005 7:09 pm

I think you hit the nail on the head, garethace, when you said Foster Place was "a small urban space with real potential"- which is why it can't be compared to, say, Quartier Bloom (or whatever it's called), which was created from nothing. Also, I disagree about the quality of the latter- you mightn't like it, but the bums-on-seats every time I pass through there would suggest it is one of the more successful recent attempts at designing an outdoor space from scratch.

In Foster Place, the setts were in place, the trees were in place, the buildings were in place, even the planning application for change of use to cafe-restaurant was in place, all before Starbucks arrived, so I don't think they are as deserving of praise as you seem to think. This is not to take away from the quality, but I'd think the quality is nothing to do with Starbucks and everything to do with the place itself, i.e. all the necessary constituents were present and all Starbucks had to do was start serving. So I disagree with your assertion that we "'cannot yet do' urban space". It's very clear to me that we already did it, though I'd agree that this is one of the few exceptions.

Also, I was a fan of the street (as many others on this forum were) long before Starbucks opened your eyes to its greatness, and I do think that something of its former quality has been lost in such a transformation. I know we can't have both a quiet oasis and a bustling coffee corner, but I mention this as an illustration that there is more than one way to enjoy an urban space.

PS You say "We have nothing like a course to train young urban designers." There is in fact a masters in Urban Design in UCD, not to mention a focus on UD in the UCD MRUP course. I can't speak for other colleges, but even one example suffices here.
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Re: Fair Play to Starbucks

Postby adhoc » Mon Nov 28, 2005 8:11 pm

But we didn't 'do' this urban space - the last significant thing to happen to Foster Place was the closing of the A.I.B.

Treasury only sought a change of permission to cafe use in May of this year so that Starbucks could access this site - after having had restaurant permission for the site for 2 years previous to that - permission that no Irish entity availed of or sought a change to.

There's a venti difference between having an ability to do something and actually getting off your arse and doing it.

Starbucks got Treasury off their posterior.
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Re: Fair Play to Starbucks

Postby ctesiphon » Mon Nov 28, 2005 9:36 pm

If by 'do' you mean package, privatise and commodify, then you're spot on.

But Foster Place was a place of urban distinction and beauty for me long before Starbucks - or Treasury, for that matter - came along. Parhaps Starbucks did galvanise Treasury, but that's not to say that either party is responsible for the quality of the urban realm in this location.
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Re: Fair Play to Star Bucks

Postby Morlan » Mon Nov 28, 2005 10:39 pm

garethace wrote:I will get them don't worry,

Or anyone else feel free to post up a pic or two.

But It just struck me this evening how obvious the point is - right in college green, where you just can't ignore it. We need to pull up our socks,... big time.

Brian O' Hanlon.


Not really that obvious IMO. That's the beauty of Fosters. You could walk right past it without blinking an eye.

So it this area controlled by the council or BOI? The rape by the tacsaí's would suggest that it's a council plot.

Who resides in this building here?

Image

Image

Ideally, this building would be a restaurant/bar, providing outdoorsy seating. Starbucks is on the corner and would probably want to keep all their seating close to their own premises.

Wouldn't that balcony there be a lovely place to have a meal? Of course, you'd have to clamber out them windows first!

ps. If anyone's been down Fosters on a Saturday night, you will see that the place is no more than a public toilet and spliff smoking area. Perhaps it should be closed of at night to prevent this sort of ASB.
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Re: Fair Play to Starbucks

Postby ctesiphon » Mon Nov 28, 2005 11:20 pm

I'm pretty sure that's the former AIB building that adhoc refers to- it has a grand double-height hall with a coved, barrel-vaulted ceiling that would make a fine restaurant.
Also, I'm pretty sure it's DCC rather than BoI that is responsible here, as you guess. Despite appearances, it's still a public street.
Can't say I agree that it should be closed off. More city centre public toilets would answer the call of nature, and partaking of a spliff (however illegal) I would hardly categorise as anti-social behaviour. It might go hand in hand with asb in some cases, but it's neither a cause nor an example of it. Increased activity levels would prevent both of these from happening- I've thought that the AIB should be a hotel for some time now, which would be one answer.
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Re: Fair Play to Starbucks

Postby Morlan » Tue Nov 29, 2005 12:26 am

Indeed indeed.

If it were to be converted to a Restaraunt/Bar, there would be less of this carry on in Foster. The problem now is that Foster is a relativley dead area. A pretty-faced dead-end street in Dublin City. Too pretty for the skags, but dead enough for toilet duty and such.

Starbucks won't change this. Forster needs a mini action plan by the council. I'd say action plans right now are far down the list of things to be done.

What we really need to know is who is in charge of the building above? Must go down there some day and read the bronze platter attached to the door. The owners of this building shall dictate the future of Foster.

Unless the council budge in, which is unlikely, Foster will remain a dormont beauty for many years to come.
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Re: Fair Play to Starbucks

Postby ctesiphon » Tue Nov 29, 2005 12:43 am

Howley Harrington's revised Temple Bar plan included mention of Foster Place. As far as I remember, there was talk of opening it up to plug into the rest of TB, but just how this would be achieved is unclear to me. All of the buildings are of merit and part of the charm of FP is its enclosed nature- I'd be cautious about any measure that diluted this characteristic.

The document might be available on the DCC website, or maybe on HH's own site?
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Re: Fair Play to Starbucks

Postby Morlan » Tue Nov 29, 2005 12:49 am

Ach, Temple Bar has nothing to do with FP. FP is in a league of its own.

While O'Connell St is getting much attention these days, I guess we'll have to wait until the College Gr./Westmorland rejuvenation plan gets going. To me, this will be far more exciting than O'C's rejuvenation plan.
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Re: Fair Play to Starbucks

Postby hutton » Tue Nov 29, 2005 2:47 am

ctesiphon wrote:I think you hit the nail on the head, garethace, when you said Foster Place was "a small urban space with real potential"- which is why it can't be compared to, say, Quartier Bloom (or whatever it's called), which was created from nothing. Also, I disagree about the quality of the latter- you mightn't like it, but the bums-on-seats every time I pass through there would suggest it is one of the more successful recent attempts at designing an outdoor space from scratch.

In Foster Place, the setts were in place, the trees were in place, the buildings were in place, even the planning application for change of use to cafe-restaurant was in place, all before Starbucks arrived, so I don't think they are as deserving of praise as you seem to think. .



CTESiphon you are spot on - summed up my thoughts exactly, which I did not have the time to type in earlier.

However just to open up a separate flank, what say about the idea that "Foster Place" be renamed "Grattan Place"? John Foster, after whom I believe the place was named was a miserable misadministrator, whose bigoted & sectarian views were repulsive, and who along with John Fitzgibbon and John Beresford helped mismanage the country during 1790s to a point where it was goaded into rebellion. It is an irony that Foster opposed the Act of Union in case it led to emancipation for persons other than members of the Established Church.

Would it not be better that the names of Foster, Beresford and Fitzgibbon be simply left in the history books, marked along with their deeds, rather than having streets left named after them as if they were honourable sorts?


So what about then, "Grattan Place" rather than "Foster Place"?


:D
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Re: Fair Play to Starbucks

Postby ctesiphon » Tue Nov 29, 2005 2:29 pm

I've often thought that Foster Place had a certain ring to it, but I wasn't aware of the activity of Mr Foster. Certainly changes things. Would that mean that Foster Avenue in Mount Merrion is also named after him?
Having said that, I'm not often in favour of airbrushing history, though there might be a case here.

It could always revert to the name it had before FP- Turnstile Alley? How's that for prosaic? :)
Or something to do with one of the architects involved on the Parliament/BoI? I don't think Edward Lovett Pearce is commemorated anywhere in the city, which is a great shame.
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Re: Fair Play to Starbucks

Postby StephenC » Tue Nov 29, 2005 2:38 pm

I think that Trinity College now own th former AIB Building mentioned above. In fact tey have taken over a couple of properties on this street (for the School of Nursing if Im not mistaken).
The Howley Harrington Plan for Temple Bar did metion Foster Place and argued for an Arcade link through to Fleet Street from College Green though this might have been from the Westmoreland Street entrance. As you might be aware the actually Parliament Building is in fact a large screen hiding a collection of buildings behind it so a bit of configuration might allow greater movemnet through without necessarily compromising the BoI.

As for a new use for Foster Place. Definately. Its criminally underused and is of poor value at the moment if nobody ever sees it. I would disagree with it being seen as quiet oasis in the city. I'd say few people go down there...even for a bit of peace. A qiuet oasis should be an escape from traffic...of wheich there is plenty on College Green. A framework plan for area is urgently needed to unlock its potential. You can already see the pressure that Habitat is having on the pavement outside as more people fight for a limited space. And plans are afoot to open a second store in the EBS premises beside Habitat.
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Re: Fair Play to Starbucks

Postby hutton » Tue Nov 29, 2005 2:53 pm

ctesiphon wrote:It could always revert to the name it had before FP- Turnstile Alley? How's that for prosaic? :)
Or something to do with one of the architects involved on the Parliament/BoI? I don't think Edward Lovett Pearce is commemorated anywhere in the city, which is a great shame.


Turnstile Alley? Thats wonderful! But then again given the activities of Castlereagh and the 30800 pounds that was used as bribes to secure the Act of Union, perhaps "Turncoat Alley" might be even more appropriate :D

Ah but in all seriousness, I think you might be right about commorating Edward Lovett Pearce. Given the rate of exaltation that a certain US fast food/ beverage outlet is getting, I can just see how it would be particularly appropriate, with a little motto:

"Pearce Place - I Lovett"

:D :D :D
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Re: Fair Play to Starbucks

Postby murphaph » Tue Nov 29, 2005 3:14 pm

Great little thread about a great little street, a street which I must admit I have never even walked down and I'm born and bred in Dublin! I always assumed it was private, somehow belonging to the BoI. That ex AIB is a wonderful building, just crying out to be used. This little gem of a street should not be connected to TB. The fact it's a cul de sac is part of its charm.

The Wesrmoreland St/College Green redevelopment will be very interesting. I really hope Luas line A is chosen and private motor vehicles are excorcised from this axis, along with O'Connell St/Bridge. The whole area would make a magnificent pedestrian plaza with Foster Place being a little shaded haen in the summer and a cosy enclosed space in winter, imagine those trees outside the ex AIB building as a bar/restaurant all decorated in twinkly xmas lights, lovely.
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Re: Fair Play to Starbucks

Postby tommyt » Tue Nov 29, 2005 9:42 pm

It's actually surprisingly quiet- even half way down Foster Pl. It is well worth a wander down, a little gem.One of the gaffs looks like it might be a private residence too! Have often wondered why BOI keep so many banking functions in operation from their entrance onto the place( I have picked up deliveries round there on numerous occasions), The Temple Bar plan alluded to above involved opening the enormous wooden door on the Westmoreland St. facade of the BOI and doing away with the bank's rear offices and delivery yard as far as I can recall..
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Re: Fair Play to Starbucks

Postby asdasd » Tue Nov 29, 2005 11:40 pm

I drank outside on Fosters place yesterday. Coffee, I mean, from starbucks. Shagging cold it was, but the seats were mostly empty which will not be the case in Summer. It was dark and Fosters place and the BOI was gorgeous. Great urban experience.

( Unlike the interior of SB which is too bright and too crowded. And I am not a detractor of Starbucks, I liked it when I lived in the US).

Fosters place would be a good place for a london style subway enterance.
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Re: Fair Play to Starbucks

Postby Devin » Wed Nov 30, 2005 2:11 am

asdasd wrote:Great urban experience.
What, drinking & shagging?
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