National Gallery Extension

Postby James » Fri Oct 26, 2001 8:31 pm

Your anorak dos'nt fit you too well Hugh:

Firstly the French stone, not only does not originate from the same geological bed - it isn't even a close geological match - hence the difference.

This is somewhat akin to arguing that the Chinese Granite used for paving in Dublin is the same as Irish Granite because they both are Granites.

Secondly the Great Court was enclosed up to cornice level - check it out in Fosters own promo literature.

I visited the Museum last winter and this summer - the differences are fairly obvious. The job of work carried out by the architects is pretty good but the French 'Portland' is a bit of a disaster.

There is a strong argument for a portico to be realised in a modern idiom - however Fosters rightly assessed the situation as one where the majority of the underlying structure and form survived and sensibly enough opted for re-cladding.

If you contact English Heritage's technical support service they will be able to 'put you right' and further clarify the position regarding the stone.

Pedantry apart (and I'm not sure that it is pedantic to try to match materials correctly when carrying out restoration work) the point here is that local stone can be of use (as can any other 'local' contextual material) in tying together new and old. I think this is fairly obvious and cannot imagine that any sensible architect would have much difficulty with such a concept.

The situation in Clare Street is somewhat different - the materials used are not characteristic of the street (to the greater detriment of the new museum) - however it is a decent if somewhat brutalist piece of work and will probably 'weather the storm' fairly easily.

In fact, in the end of the day my only major quibble (brutality apart) is that perhaps it might have been more sensible to use a lighter cladding material as the exterior feels somewhat 'ponderous'.
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Postby Hugh » Mon Oct 29, 2001 11:57 am

Sorry James, there was indeed a lot of clutter in the BM courtyard around the Round Reading Room - not least the bookstacks of 1857 often referred to as the "iron library", and later accretions - but "enclosed up to the cornice"? No.

Aerial pictures before the Foster work clearly show the gap around the edges. As do construction site photos as work began, looking across the court, showing the elevations to the courtyard very clearly. Exposed to the elements, and well weathered.

You'll find these and much else in "Building the British Museum" by Marjorie Caygill and Christopher Date, published by the BM itself.

It's always best to cross-check what comes out of the Foster publicity machine.
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Postby Paul Clerkin » Mon Jan 21, 2002 9:49 am

So what do people think now?
I see Shane O'Toole (yesterday Sunday Times) and Frank McDonald (saturday Irish Times) both seemed to like it...
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Postby BM » Mon Jan 21, 2002 11:28 am

I think the interiors look intresting but that they may have succumbed to the same over-designing that weakened their Museum of Scotland scheme in Edinburgh. While the spaces in the Scottish building are undoubtedly impressive, the architects have a tenedency to cover every surface (lift shafts, reception desks as well as principal walls) with these 'random' slits and openings. In some cases they frame views and work quite successfully bit they generally give the impression of being far too arbitrary and tend to dilute the overall sense of space by distracting the eye. I see from the photos of the Clare St. extension that these seem to feature porminently again but I hope that they won't weaken it to the extent that they do in Edinburgh.
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Postby GregF » Mon Jan 21, 2002 4:21 pm

......Can't wait to see the new National Gallery extension and the new Impressionist Exhibition it houses too, all the big guns are there ....Monet, Renoir, etc.....great for the city of Dublin, making us feel that bit more European.
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Postby notjim » Mon Jan 21, 2002 7:17 pm

Looks great of the outside, a really lovely thing, I smile every time I see it. I amn't sure about the red light gantries they have fitted to the front by Clare Lane, are they going to hang banners off them?
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Postby Peter Fitz » Tue Jan 22, 2002 6:53 am

bit of a turn around Greg?, was kind of dissapointed to hear Pat Kenny say on Friday's Late Late (yes apparently i am actually that sad to watch it) that "you'd never know you were in Dublin", guess it kind of says a lot in a way...I think its a great building, and have no reservations about it standing up against the other georgian buildings on Clare street...i have found myself nearly go out of my way to walk past it recently, and so i reckon that any building that has such an effect on a person (granted its only me, and i'm certainly no expert) is a very worthy extension to the NG.
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Postby GregF » Tue Jan 22, 2002 10:26 am

No U turns here.....I was more or less commenting on the interiors, space, lighting and the exhibition itself....the exterior is still debatable within a Georgian streetscape.....especially when it gets dirty and aged....the newness impact will wear off. I guess it is the spectre of the ESB offices on Fitzwilliam Street that haunts me.

[This message has been edited by GregF (edited 22 January 2002).]
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Postby Shane » Tue Jan 22, 2002 3:19 pm

I have just seen it. It looks magnificent on the inside. It is a real surprise to see just how much space there is in the atrium. The space flows very nicely from the entrance to the main staircase, which is very generous in size. The strange geometry of the windows and alcoves is very odd, but not unpleasant. Some of these spaces are functional [for housing brochures, leaflets or as passageways] others seem entirely decorative.

Immediate highlights for me of the building were
1 - The dramatic contrast in apparent scale between the entrance and the inside - it is quite disorienting and surprising to see how big it is inside compared to its appearance from outside on Clare street.
2 - The diagonal walkway near the ceiling. What agreat idea to paint it red !
3 - The staircase - I dunno, I just like it.
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Postby nono » Tue Jan 22, 2002 4:44 pm

i have just been to the museum of scotland, and have not yet physically seen the finished gallery yet.

it certainly seems impressive, its architecture a new (confusing, original???) blend of brutalism and PoMo.

but i hope it does not weather as badly as its edinburgh cousin. unlike most of the stone in the city it appears to be going green, detailing gone wrong??? i hope the architects did not apply the same formula in dublin
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Postby Rory W » Tue Jan 22, 2002 4:56 pm

Cant help thinking we could do without the Georgian Building and ballroom though! - Sorry conservationists
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Postby Paul Clerkin » Tue Jan 22, 2002 5:18 pm

Originally posted by nono:
i have just been to the museum of scotland, and have not yet physically seen the finished gallery yet


Heading over myself to Edinburgh over the next few days and going to go see the Museum first and then visit the National Gallery early next week.
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Postby Hugh » Tue Jan 22, 2002 5:30 pm

Nothing wrong with stone going green - Fountains Abbey in Yorkshire has an amazing "Green Room" where all the internal stonework has gone bright green with algae or whatever.

On the other hand, that's because of the lack of roof owing to Reformationist zeal. I doubt whether the Museum of Scotland stone was meant to go green. Still, enjoy the happenstance...
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Postby aruan o' neill » Tue Jan 22, 2002 8:50 pm

You've got funny ideas about stone Hugh. The museum of scotland extension is clad in clashac stone, it's beautiful and very colourful: pink, orange and amber and I can't imagine that anyone was really hoping it would go green and slimy. I also share BM's concern way back there about self conscious and overworked detailing of the interior, I find it hard to spot the exhibits in the Edinburgh museum, the building keeps getting in the way.
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Postby rob » Tue Jan 22, 2002 9:19 pm

On the topic of museum extensions - does anyone know of the progress on libeskinds brilliant plan for the V & A museum, London?
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Postby Hugh » Wed Jan 23, 2002 12:18 pm

What's wrong with entropy and decay, I say. But I agree - the Museum of Scotland stone cladding when fresh was very beautiful.
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Postby idemangeat » Wed Jan 23, 2002 6:18 pm

I think the new building has a very Stephen Holl look to it( http://www.stevenholl.com )it looks great, a breath of fresh air and a nice departure from some 'mock georgian' buildings of recent years. I can't wait to get a good look around inside.
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Postby Peter Fitz » Thu Jan 24, 2002 4:29 pm

fair enough Greg, i see what you mean about the facade, right now though i think it looks great, i guess time will tell...
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Postby Paul Clerkin » Mon Jan 28, 2002 10:37 am

I've just seen the National Museum in Edinburgh and was very impressed.... loved the internal spaces... sure some rooms detracted from the exhibits but those were in a minority i felt... got some great photos and the roof terraces are excellent

really looking forward to a wander through the gallery now for comparisom
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Postby nono » Mon Jan 28, 2002 3:02 pm

The Museum of Scotland certainly is impressive, even if some of its details and design appear rather pointless (or perhaps I am living in a minimalist dreamworld)

It is a very easy and engaging building to wonder around for a couple of hours, even for a 'non-architect'. I hope the Clare St. gallery has the same effect.
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Postby graham » Thu Jan 31, 2002 1:57 pm

Please note that in designing this extension and the edinburgh building the architects hand drew all the plans and detailing. Fair play in the technoloogy age

[This message has been edited by graham (edited 31 January 2002).]

[This message has been edited by graham (edited 31 January 2002).]
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Postby Jack » Thu Jan 31, 2002 4:26 pm

Maybe...but what's the point
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Postby quirkey » Thu Jan 31, 2002 11:36 pm

RE. Museum of scotland
I walked around the building for two hours before getting kicked out at closing time,
I'd probably have stayed there another two if I was let. Every corner you turn is a new surprise, floor voids, veiws through walls to other spaces beyond,slits employing glimpses to the outside world, niches in the wall with places to sit, like one huge sculptural piece , amazing..... one strange thing i found was one place where you had to climb two floors of stairs to arive at... just toilets.....as regards dodgey detailing.. i certainly couldnt find any... though the huge wall thicknesses in places was something i questioned.....
and after all that i could hardly tell you what the exhibition was about.
Personally I havent been as impressed with a building in quite a while.
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Postby nono » Fri Feb 01, 2002 2:33 pm

Dodgy detailing... i am being a little harsh. i passed by the Muesuem of Scotland again today and i have to admit it is not as green as i originally supposed. I am not convinced of how well it look in time, but it is a wonderfull place to wonder around.

Many of the 'slits' etc. do not work as well as many people would like to think. it is a strain to look through many of them, or at least a very conscious effort. It probably betrays the architects intentions. some of them are so small and are difficult to clean, filled with rubbish from uncaring public. the architects fault???
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Postby quirkey » Fri Feb 01, 2002 8:05 pm

yeah i suppose i would tend to agree there alright.

[This message has been edited by quirkey (edited 01 February 2002).]
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