Trinity College Dublin

Re: Trinity College Dublin

Postby spoil_sport » Wed Sep 03, 2008 4:31 pm

"All of the squares have a coherence of form once you're within them"

OK, but define for me the current west end of fellows square. Is it the end of the old library? or the arts block? or the 1937.
The new building holds the line of the arts block, which enhances the validity of that line. The end line of the old library was already broken by the arts building, refer to the plan above, this is an argument that should have been had then, not now.

I can't see how any new proposal coul properly close the square without upsetting the defenders of the 1937.

"modern is just inappropriate"

I really don't accept this proposition, as was said, all the vrious buildings "meld into one", however the inportant part of that statment is "now". Of course thay do, we're failing to look past our own perception, we're seeing it in the contemporary. I can imaging a child of the 18th century disapproving of the new fangled architecture of the 19th. I also think we're failing to distinguish between "modern" and it's bastard offspring -trendy, fad, fashionable, cool, etc. "modern" does not necessarily mean it will conflict. The 1937 is an R.C. and steel structure with what is effectively a stone dressing, or skin. it is in effect a "modern" building, ie uses "modern production echniques" (in a funny way it preempts pomo.)
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Re: Trinity College Dublin

Postby GrahamH » Wed Sep 03, 2008 5:04 pm

I don't understand how the new building holds the line of the Arts Block given that it continues on behind it. Perhaps you could expand on that. Also, the line of the Arts Block does not break Fellows' Square, it merely continues it beyond the plane - and something it in any event acknowledges through the emphatic entrance directly opposite the end pavilion of the Library. That is not remotely the same thing as overlapping an existing building, and nothing near the impact it has on a classical structure that depends so heavily on a sense of symmetry. Similarly the enormous massing of the Library and its wider importance in the development of architecture in Ireland is such that should not be compromised by the intrusion of this new building, and especially at such close quarters. There is no parallel to be drawn with the Arts Block whatever. Indeed if anything the Arts Block created Fellow's Square, it being little more than a green space with incidental structures previously.

I do appreciate the long term view in the understanding of architecture regarding the front squares, and would welcome such modern interjections almost anywhere else on the Trinity campus. Perhaps a more apt analogy than the 1937 would be the Museum Building, which could be argued may not have come about if such a viewpoint was taken. But the development of the front squares and indeed arguably the Museum were all informed by a classical language, however watered down or varied, as were the societies of their ages so aborbed in that culture. There is a marked difference today, as there was in the 1930s, where as mentioned the Reading Room is a thoroughly modern structure but in a classical shroud. A structure of the ilk of the first terminal at Dublin airport could have been slotted in here back then too, but it was decided to acknowledge the surroundings.

If there was a more obvious, more deserving site in the front squares for a contemporary build I think it would be both welcome and very worthwhile. But purely for the sake of trying to make a modern statement on that tiny site whilst disrupting the mellowed character of the squares, it simply isn't worth it. On balance the pros of leaving as is far outweigh the cons.
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Re: Trinity College Dublin

Postby spoil_sport » Wed Sep 03, 2008 5:52 pm

(You are talking about the entrance from Nassau street?) Well no, the entrance is not infact "directly opposite" the end pavillion of the library. And there in lies the problem. The east wall of the edmund burke podium "overlaps" (or breaks or steps in front of, whatever you want to call it) with the end line of the old library. Look at he plan posted on the previous page, I think it's quiet clear.
I mean the east elevation of the new building appears to be flush with the east wall of the edmund burke podium, on the afore mentioned plan the line outside it is a rooflight which I am disregarding as it only rises to waist level, it is the wall behind that (which is the line the new building sits on) that is the real perceivable boundary to fellows square.
Consider the alternative. the new building does sit back a few meters, and dosen't overlap with the library, we now have a building that sits back from the edge of the podium, thereby relegating it to an extent from the space, this would for me be a much weaker proposition.
I can see we're not going to agree on this....
I can only restate that I really don't think the overlap with the old library will negatively impact on the it's reading, and I still don't see the value of the 1937, We allow our surroundings to dictate rather than inform far too often.
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Re: Trinity College Dublin

Postby spoil_sport » Wed Sep 03, 2008 5:55 pm

And again "modern" and "statment" are not mutually exclusive, nor does "modern" negate "mellow"
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Re: Trinity College Dublin

Postby GrahamH » Wed Sep 03, 2008 6:18 pm

I agree.

However the entrance to the Arts Block is directly opposite the end pavilion of the Library. I don't see how that can be refuted - it is opposite it! If you refer to the Edmund Burke intruding on that to some degree fair enough, but the ramp and wider entrance bay of the Arts Block directly acknowledges the end point of the Library.

Also I find it extraordinary that one can define a stump of a bunker rising out of the ground as the definitive boundary of a square over a soaring three storey behemoth of one of the most important buildings in the state. It is the Library first, the Arts Block second, the Berkeley third and The Stump fourth that define the square, in that order. To suggest that arguably the most important building on the campus be overlapped for the ancillary remnant of a sunken building is quite frankly preposterous. If this needs to be altered, then this should be done.
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Re: Trinity College Dublin

Postby Denton » Wed Sep 03, 2008 6:39 pm

This new building looks rather out of place but its a small space and it does look better than the whole of the art block.

I for one loath the art block, theres nothing wrong with its shape but its so ugly, i would prefare if it was a nicer colour, for a college theres no need to have a building that looks like granite rain clouds! It needs a bit of colour to it, or a bit of a clean, its one of the worst parts of the campus, and there isnt really any bad parts. Apart from the sports hall.

Im not a campus student as nursing is down the road in the old GAS building which we simply call D'Olier street, but i really dont like the arts block it really does look dirty. Now dont get me wrong i like the kinds of buildings that are like it, like the buildings in the simon fraser university that are allways used in sci-fi programmes, but the arts block is pretty ugly.

Its a nice design but its interior is dated, cracked, dark and generally not very aesthetically pleasing, its almost as dank as the outside. The libary thankfully escapes this as its connected too the rest of the libary complex.
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Re: Trinity College Dublin

Postby spoil_sport » Wed Sep 03, 2008 7:12 pm

GrahamH, yes its roughly opposite but please take out a ruler and draw a straigt line from either the east or west edge of the ramp of the arts block to the old library and see what you get. They don't line up.
Perhaps we're not on the same page, the original question was to define the west boundary of fellows square, that the old library is the dominant side and definitive boundary of fellows square was never in doubt.
The "stump" is -and particularly when entering from Nassau street- a real boundary and I cannot understand how you could sugest that any new building that wants to go on top of it should just ignore it. That the new building chooses this edge reinforces this as a boundary. However, and here is the key point, it dosen't bother me. The new building and the library will overlap. Most buildings in the campus overlap in to some degree (this was my earlier point about irregular placement). Apart from perhaps partiallly obscuring the corner of the old library from certain positions on the ramp, ie if one were hugging the wall as they entered for instance; the overlap will not affect the reading of the arts block elevation from any other position on fellow's square. The tourists will still be able to get their photographs.
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Re: Trinity College Dublin

Postby notjim » Wed Sep 03, 2008 7:43 pm

Denton wrote:. Now dont get me wrong i like the kinds of buildings that are like it, like the buildings in the simon fraser university that are allways used in sci-fi programmes,.


Denton: I don't agree with you about the arts block; but perhaps of more interest to those who don't know it, this is SFU, one of the most gob-smacking university complexes I have visited.

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The whole campus looks like this and, indeed, gives the impression of having been produced in a single pour.
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Re: Trinity College Dublin

Postby Denton » Wed Sep 03, 2008 8:20 pm

notjim wrote:Denton: I don't agree with you about the arts block; but perhaps of more interest to those who don't know it, this is SFU, one of the most gob-smacking university complexes I have visited.

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The whole campus looks like this and, indeed, gives the impression of having been produced in a single pour.


It is amazing looking, and thats not even the bit from tv!

The square with a lake has been used in Andromeda, Stargate, BattleStar Galactica and some movies.

I like the design of the arts block it is a good building, but its interior and exterior are not pleasant, it just doesnt look nice. Its a good design but its just so depressing in its colour and texture. It looks even worse in dark rainy weather.

Unlike the berkley which even for blank concrete looks amazing.:cool:
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Re: Trinity College Dublin

Postby gunter » Wed Sep 03, 2008 8:58 pm

I'm not getting involved, I just thought I'd post up that old aerial view of Fellows' Square from before the Arts block was built (forward of the corner of the Berkley)

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continue . . .
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Re: Trinity College Dublin

Postby Paul Clerkin » Wed Sep 03, 2008 9:11 pm

You tend to forget what an alien insertion the Berkeley was
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Re: Trinity College Dublin

Postby missarchi » Thu Sep 04, 2008 10:53 am

Paul Clerkin wrote:The joy of Trinity is the layering of different architecture styles over time - its like a parade of great architecture from different times - 18th, 19th, 20th c ....


and the millennium movement ;) they have the quality and skills but would it be possible to be ornate every addition has been Grey and more grey what about some extruded pattern relief? or no budget/time?
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Re: Trinity College Dublin

Postby notjim » Sun Oct 12, 2008 9:26 am

Permission for the long room hub has been granted btw.
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Re: Trinity College Dublin

Postby notjim » Sun Dec 21, 2008 2:03 am

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So people accuse the college of being isolated from the town but here we see that tcd has acquired from dcc the habit of replacing custodial care with clunky and obtrusive, but probably ineffective infrastructure, to whit the huge bins, lots of them, perversely located and the old bins still in place: a mess.
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Re: Trinity College Dublin

Postby shaun » Sun Dec 21, 2008 10:44 pm

The space that has been created under the railway arches and the new entrance from Pearse street are good additions to this side of town.

Westland row in general has been better planned (or less fecked up) than Amiens street station I think.
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Re: Trinity College Dublin

Postby johnglas » Sun Dec 21, 2008 11:35 pm

Agreed; but CIE (or whatever) should spend some serious money on showing a bit of tlc for the viaduct and the station itself - all that great space under the parabolic roof of the train shed could be used to create a stunning eating, shopping, drinking venue (after all, that's what we do these days).
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Re: Trinity College Dublin

Postby GrahamH » Sun Dec 28, 2008 7:53 pm

28/12/2008

Well the Rubrics has had its shroud of scaffolding recently removed, in what must be noted as a relatively quick project turnaround of just five months. It feels like the job only started last week.

The project involved a complete rehabilitation of the exterior, ranging from reroofing, reflashing, repointing, cleaning of brickwork, replacement of decayed sandstone and terracotta elements, repair of window lintels, refurbishment of decayed windows, and restoration of rainwater goods. All the basics.

As pictured in the summer, the terrace looked grim – if nonetheless appealing.

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The transformation, while fundamentally the result of conservation necessity, has greatly improved the range’s appearance.

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Before

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After

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Dating from the turn of 1700, the entire range was refaced in Victorian machine-made brick in 1894, including the addition of the distinctive brick gables and chimneystacks. Therefore little of the original fabric survives to the exterior.

The Victorian brick was cleaned and repointed with a lime mortar.

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While sandstone or teracotta elements were replaced where needed.

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The high rendered band of skirting at ground floor level conceals a more interesting layer. This (camera phone) picture was sneakily taken behind the scaffold when works were underway. The modern (probably cement) render was temporarily removed to reveal what appears to be original red brick dating to 1700.

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It’s likely the Victorians just rendered over it, and it was later replaced in cement in the 1980s. In these conservation works, the render was removed, a wire mesh applied across the whole area of old brick, and then a lime render reapplied. Presumably the wire mesh as much protects the original brick as it provides a decent gripping substrate.

Complete.

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Re: Trinity College Dublin

Postby GrahamH » Sun Dec 28, 2008 7:54 pm

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The beautiful muddy limestone archways seen above are also almost certainly survivors from 1700 (excellent paint choice). The somewhat gawky detailing and use of sandstone dressings is characteristic of the late 17th and early 18th centuries. Sadly, the use of the native limestone-sandstone pairing rarely receives the attention of the later granite-Portland ensemble that so dominated in public construction from the second quarter of the 18th century. The former can be seen both at the Royal Hospital and at Dublin Castle (below), where Thomas Burgh’s arcade of 1712-1717 is now all that remains of the early classical rebuilding of the complex.

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The similarity is striking. Did Burgh have a role in designing the Rubrics?

In the 1890s refacing of the Rubrics, the 1700 window opes were aggrandised with projecting reveals, with the original granite sills pragmatically retained in the centre. It seems the Victorians simply extended them in brick and rendered over the lot into unified sills. In the restoration works, all render and dodgy extensions were removed and additional granite spliced on the end of every sill.

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The window lintels appear to have been rendered rather than entirely replaced. Previously they appeared to be a redish concrete composite rather than sandstone, but it was difficult to tell. I’m not entirely sure why grey render was used, but it works well.

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(nice bit of cylinder glass there)


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The majority of windows on the main west-facing range appear to date to the 1840s. This would tie in with a comprehensive replacement in the early 19th century, as we have seen time and time again across Dublin where old-fashioned structures of the early 1700s were updated at this time. These windows also tend to have more exposed sash boxes, further suggesting they were clumsily recycled (below). Quite a few, however, also date from the 1890s refacing.

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From what I can make out, these have all been beautifully and sensitively reconditioned, with nearly all of the original glass retained.

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The picturesque chimneys have also been repointed (extremely exposed up there), cleaned and the pots capped. It appears the top plinths required rebuilding, though this may have been done in the 1980s.

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Re: Trinity College Dublin

Postby GrahamH » Sun Dec 28, 2008 7:55 pm

To the rear, the pebbledash finish has been left as was.

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However, the brick gables here were given the same treatment as the front façade, and the roof – as to the front – beautifully reslated. It’s difficult to make out if the original slate was cleaned or a new slate was sourced. It was also completely reflashed.

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Delightful casement windows to the gables.

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There’s a much more varied array of sash windows around here, with most significantly older than the main elevation on account of their sheltered east facing location. For example, the refined window to the left below dates to c. 1820s, while the window to the right dates to c. 1750s.

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This muddled array comprise windows of c. 1790s to the top and bottom left, while top right is of c. 1840s and bottom right of c. 1820s.

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And as for this remarkable pair with chunky glazing bars, again dating to c. 1750s and probably contemporaneous to the building of Parliament Square.

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Quite a few of these cutsey pairs survive at ground floor level.

Alas not everything is quite perfect. As Devin has highlighted before, this window screams fake old glass with its smooth even ripples. The sticker in the corner further suggests this, and a number of windows have stickers and suspicious panes…

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One wonders how much, or if any, historic glass has been faked like it was in Front Square. Devin was absolutely correct about Front Square – I have it on authority from within Trinity that a significant amount of historic glass was lost in the recent ‘conservation’ works to the windows of the main ranges. Where glass couldn’t be removed it was simply smashed out and replaced with fake old glass. Now, it is accepted within window restoration that not all glass can be salvaged if it’s resolutely puttied to a decayed timber member that requires replacement. Therefore the question to be asked is just how much effort, if any, during the Front Square works was put into safely salvaging as much glass as possible?
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Re: Trinity College Dublin

Postby GrahamH » Sun Dec 28, 2008 8:01 pm

The 1980s bookends to each end were left as was. Nothing much can be done with these short of a substantial refacing.

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All in all a job extremely well done. Picturesque doesn’t work particularly well with a veneer of soot and clumsy accretions; these works have great enhanced the appearance of the range as well as secured its fabric for many years to come.

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By contrast, granite takes on the urban environment so much better. A dash of winter sun helps matters of course…

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Re: Trinity College Dublin

Postby gunter » Sun Dec 28, 2008 10:15 pm

Graham, fantastic photographs and analysis as ever, but somebody's going to have to explain the concept of holidays to you :)

On the Rubricks itself, projecting brick window surrounds were an early feature, the ones at Beaulieu House (1660) and the Royal Hospital, Kilmainham, (1680) both had slight outward projections of the head of the brick surround beyond the line of the uprights, what do you make of the light coloured window surrounds in the distant early photographs of the Library Square buildings, were they rendered brickwork? (are they wide enough?), or stone?

Presumably, in the projecting window surrounds at the Rubricks, the Victorian make-over re-worked an existing feature? There must be a drawing of the original detail, or a close up photograph, somewhere!

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Re: Trinity College Dublin

Postby johnglas » Sun Dec 28, 2008 10:41 pm

gunter and GrahamH: gobsmacked as ever - the compliments of the season and the paper hats from the crackers to you both!
PS My flying Advent visit convinced me thet your city is in much better heart than anyone thinks, but don't let that 'haud ye back' as we say here.
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Re: Trinity College Dublin

Postby GrahamH » Sun Dec 28, 2008 11:12 pm

I don't like those paper hats johnglas - they make my ears sweaty! Agreed that Dublin is a delight at Christmas though. I don't think we appreciate just how centralised and compact everything is. All of the seasonal atmosphere is concentrated very potently over a pleasantly small area. By contrast for example to London, where if you forget something, there's no going back!

Back to Trinity, and I suspect render may be more likely as the original reveals, gunter. They look a tad 'raw' don't they. Stone would also be rather lavish for what were modest residential ranges. I think there's quite a few other photographs of Library Square that'd be worth looking up and zooming in on - alas I don't have books to hand.

The current window surrounds of the Rubrics have always struck me as odd - so very crudely executed (as with all the brickwork for that matter), and the sandstone/concrete lintels most strange. There was clearly a precendent of some kind that informed them, as you couldn't come up with such a bizarre feature from scratch short of being somewhat derranged yourself. It seems as though they were contrived to prevent the windows being flush in the new facade, which may have been shallower than the earlier one.

Interesting also to see the same model of chimney on 'Rotten Row' above. Presumably these were added at the same time as the Rubrics was remodelled in 1894? The photograph does look earlier though...
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Re: Trinity College Dublin

Postby notjim » Tue Dec 30, 2008 3:07 pm

and it is rumoured that the multi-bites building has been bought at last meaning the college, including the dental hospital, owns everything on the island.
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Re: Trinity College Dublin

Postby kinsella » Tue Dec 30, 2008 5:16 pm

When/why was the rear of the rubrics pebble-dashed?
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