The Bank of Ireland on College Green has always been a tempting idea and there is a huge amount on under-used space, (including surface car parks!) in behind it's parliamentary walls (see some of the aerial shots posted recently by Graham) but, as with the Custom House and similar ideas, taking the Oireachtas out of one restricted historical building and sticking it in another, might not be the best solution.
No, I'd put away all the other options, the Leinster Lawn idea is sheer genius.
*I knew johnglas would come through in the end*
No other option even comes close.
It's a free site, as the OPW are fond of saying.
It's a short tunnel away from Gov. buildings and the rest of the existing Kilfare Street apparatus of power.
It closes an urban gap on Merrion Square.
It closes the vista from Upper Mount Street, which at present is just a one way view.
It creates the opportunity to integrate Leinster House into the cultural complex on Kildare St. which, as pointed out by Graham, was the 19th century intention.
It creates the opportunity to for a new pedestrian link through the site between the Merrion Square and Molesworth Street.
It creates an opportunity for a great new building.
It densifies the city centre and tightens up the urban grain.
The list just goes on and on.
A quick stab at a block plan:
Graphics are a bit arbitrary, but these would be the key points of a plan to me:
A new east / west pedestrian route through a restored flanking colonnade to the north side of Leinster House.
Provision for an extension to the Natural History Museum, who's existing exhibition space must be retained without alteration, but with the addition of modern facilities in a new wing.
A new Oireachtas building that visably contains two chambers.
Personally I wouldn't get too worked up about addressing the garden front of Leinster house in any formal way, but there is potential for an urban space here, (imagery escapes me for the moment).
I wonder have any bright students of architecture done a recent thesis on something like this.
We need images!