You are wrong about Architects and Planners not 'having touched it' in the past 30 years,... it has been the site of many a battle. Instead of 'having it out' on Westmoreland Street though, they have scrapped over things, closeby, in areas such as Temple Bar. Every time one side, 'thinks' it has gained an advantage, the other side responds quickly with something that will put it down. This reminds me of the Cold War, where Asian Countries inadvertedly, got used for that purpose. My biggest fear, is that the Irish landscape itself, has become a stage for this power struggle. In the aftermath of sagas such as Temple Bar, there is 'for' and 'against', both sides. You have to place Westmoreland Street within the context of this 'cold war' politics. To do otherwise, is to ignore the reality. You have to look at the state the Architectural profession too, and what kind of a 'battle' it could hope to mount these days. I reckon myself, that code and the planning tradition have made massive leaps in capability and penetrated deeply, into the system, in the last decade or so. On the other hand, I cannot see a reciprocal advance on the part of the Architects.
Yeah, I do reckon, Architects and Planners were more evenly matched in the 1970s and 1980s, and therefore couldn't quite decide who 'would win' on Westmoreland Street. But following debacles most recently, such as Henry Street and Parnell Street, I would think the matter will get settled shortly. That is the context, in which, I would like people here to consider Westmoreland Street. There are future careers, reputations and respect at stake here, much more than just the sum of all the parts. I was always told in Architecture school, that Architecture is like frozen music. If this is so, then I think, that the only 'music' being played at the moment, is by the Planners and by their Planning code
. I have added these short few passages, from 'Rebel Code', to help further 'flesh out' my point.
Unix programming is an art, Raymond believes, because 'when you do it at a high enough level, there's a very strong aesthetic satisfaction that you get from writing an elegant program. If you don't get that kind of gratification, you never join the culture. Just as you don't get composers without an ear for music, you don't get hackers without an ability to be aesthetically gratified by writing programs.' This element of aesthetic gratification perhaps provides the key to explaining one of the missing pieces of Raymond's otherwise comprehensive explanation of the open-source process.
In a follow-up essay to The Cathedral and the Bazaar, called Homesteading the Noosphere, Raymond explored an apparent paradox at the heart of open-source software: If everyone is free to take the code and modify it, why do major projects like Linux or Apache rarely split, or 'fork,' as hackers say, just as the old-style commercial Unixes did? He suggests that peer esteem, the key driving force for people working in the world of free software, explains the effect. He demonstrates well that the dynamics of such a 'gift economy' - where prestige is measured not by what you have, but by what you give away - tend to reduce the threat of forking.
Knuth was born in 1938, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. During a brilliant early career as a physicist and mathematician at Case Institute of Technology - where he was awarded a master's degree contemporanesously with his B.S. - he became interested in the young world of computer science.
Knuth summarizes his views this way: 'Computer programming is an art, because it applies accumulated knowledge to the world, because it requires skill and ingenuity, and especially because it produces objects of beauty. Programmers who subconsciously view themselves as artists will enjoy what they do and will do it better.'
It is in light of the above quote, that you have to see the frustration, of so many young Irish Architects. While the Code has being accelerating on, at an alarming pace, the Architects, merely drop in as it suits
. Architects, generally are far too charismatic and charming, to read something like the planning and regulatory code. Yet, they still seem to huff and puff like Billy-o, if the Planning System hasn't
managed to integrate their specific needs into it. I mean, if you refuse to be an integral part of the process, when it comes to the building
of a large urban project, as in the case of Group 91 Temple Bar Architects, are you surprised when that system, does not
provide you with the necessary service, you expect?
I often wonder about the education process for architects in Ireland too. I mean, when designing something as monumental as an Olympic Swimming Pool for the Docklands, the architectural student usually spends about 5-6 weeks concept-ing, design-ing and present-ing, stuff on boards to show off as their design
. Note, the highly
personal nature, of the last sentence - It is my
design, and how dare you lay your fingers upon it! You see? You actually do
get rewarded in the educational process, for coming up with the most individually inspired, 'totally awesome' solution. But where
in this whole process, is the consultation with a local authority, to see if they have any input? I mean, for heaven's sake, given the size of an Olympic Swimming Pool, yet we are just going to sit here on our lonesome, and create a grand masterpiece! And yet somehow
, the system rewards you for that course of action? I take the point that student projects are meant to be illusionary, without a real-world client very often. But yet, the same exercises are meant to prepare one for the real world. I mean, seriously, how many people could get away with designing an Olympic Swimming Pool for Dublin's Docklands area, and not meet with a planner at some stage?
This gets me right back to exercises like Group 91 in Temple Bar. Do Architects seriously think they are allowed to just 'slip things in there', like large urban renewal projects, and expect that no one will even notice? Yet, you often hear the architects complain about how the local authority 'got in their way', or will not let them 'get on with the job'. This aspiration to plough their own furrow, is not getting the Irish Architectural profession very far, I fear. And still, somehow
, the Irish Architectural profession, manages to reward it's members, for all of the wrong reasons. It is frightening to think, how far we need to go back, to find a time in Ireland, when the Architect was more
than just a 'side-show' to the whole process. You would have
to go back further than the 1960s I would think. The very last straw for me, is noticing all of those site notices around, for crucial sites here in Dublin, where the planning consultants name, has become more important than that of an Architect. This just sends out another discusting message, that Architects have lost another 'foothold' in the process.
Brian O' Hanlon.