These two proposals have both been given the green light by Dublin City Council in the last few days.
The top one(Reg. no. 1840/08): deBlackam & Meagher's office block on top of Vathouse no. 7 on Crane Street gets off particularly lightly IMO.
The planner's report doesn't mention the narrowness of Crane Street, except to note that the proposed widening of the footpaths might be a bit tricky. The report states that 'The stepping back of the profile from Thomas Street would protect the visual amenities of the streetscape and those of the adjoining protected structures.'
I have to say I disagree with that. It was quite correctly pointed out by notjim, earlier in this thread, that several of the existing Guinness buildings already 'loom' out quite successfully over the streetscape of Thomas St. The proposed redevelopment of Vathouse no. 7 clearly looms out above Crane Street and Rainsford Street, and if this bold design approach has validity on these narrow streets, (which it possibly does) then to abandon this approach for the narrow frontage that addresses the main thoroughfare of Thomas Street, is a denial of that architectural strategy and seriously compromises the integrity of the design.
The planner's report also states that 'The design treatment of the additional floors is contemporary in form, detailed in glass and aluminium and iroko panelling, bounded by continuous balconies at each level'.
It would be pedantic to disagree with that assessment, but it is a sobering thought that a structure that so closely resembles Paxton's Crystal Palace of 1856?, could come to be regarded as 'contemporary' in 2008.
The case is notable in a couple of other ways:
1. [INDENT]The decision to grant permission for this development was made despite the fact that an earlier planning application (Reg. no. 5666/07) to develop the the overall Digital Hub site, including a different treatment of the Vathouse structure, remains live (additional information having been requested in December and not yet supplied)! [/INDENT]
2. [INDENT]The application involves 'Protected Structures' and is centred on the redevelopment of a Guinness warehouse that, though not a PS, has clear architectural & heritage value, and yet no photo-montages showing the visual impact were deemed necessary![/INDENT]
The phrase rush to judgement
comes to mind.
The other development pictured above, for the 'Windmill site', (Reg. no. 1712/08) got a pretty favourable review on this thread, from what I recall. This application (by HKR) was handled by a different planning officer and the planner's report appears, to me, to be a bit more insightful. The only blind spot in the report is the absense of any mention of the high profile blank wall that will appear over the rooftops of IAWS, when looking west on Thomas Street. Notice how a phantom tree appears in the render to soften this particular junction!
The report praises the 'unashamedly modern'
design approach, the 'minimalist and uncluttered elevational treatment'
, and the 'vertical rather than horizontal emphasis'
. In respect of the relationship with IAWS, the report concludes that '. . . despite being higher . . (the proposed block A) . . presents a lightweight appearance which is not unduly overbearing.'
Both planning decisions repeatedly quote the densification strategy in the draft [B][B][B]'Maximising the City's Potential
'[/B][/B][/B] with the implication that the guideline of 'heights of up to eight storeys in the city centre
' may have already become the new benchmark. Most people would probably go along with this, but there is a danger that we will just end up replacing our present 'gap toothed' streetscapes of derelict sites interspersed among four storey structures with a new 'gap toothed' streetscape of occassional retained four storey structures interspersed amongst an otherwise uniform eight storey ensemble.