Leinster House, National Museum & Library complex

Re: Leinster house in dangerous condition

Postby Peter Fitz » Mon Sep 15, 2008 5:06 pm

Staircase to the Dail Chamber, with its manky carpet

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really manky carpet

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and the chamber itself ...

I wouldn't be quite as harsh as Graham, but agree that the upper reaches generally not visible on camera, need some serious work, the glazing and lighting are dreadful.

Image

and the 'auld curtain concealing the electronic voting panel doesn't help either.

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The seldom seen panel ... installed during 03/04 i think

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Even so, there's something I quite like about the chamber & given the appropriate intervention, it could make a fine home for the lower house.
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Re: Leinster house in dangerous condition

Postby SunnyDub » Mon Sep 15, 2008 7:00 pm

This idea of a purpose built parliament building on Leinster Lawn, fronting Merrion Square, is brilliant, well thought up I have to say. Gives a new public square and everything.I think going down towards Phoenix Park is too far from gov department offices and other gov offices. failing above, I say old Parliament building, although maybe it's cramped, I don't know
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Re: Leinster house in dangerous condition

Postby searbh » Mon Sep 15, 2008 7:28 pm

I think Leinster Lawn would cause uproar...

The college green site has plenty of space inside it for both houses of the oireachtas and more flexibility than you would imagine. Remember; the outside wall is just a screen.

The other reason I like the college green idea so much is it's historical significance; this was where ireland's first constitutional freedoms were achieved. Abolishing this assembly, putting a bank into the former house of parliament and enforcing the destruction of the commons chamber was a calculated political insult and the act which more than any other stripped the island of it's economic independence and precipitated the long 19th century economic decline of dublin.

How better to symbolize an irish or dublin "renaissance" than to return irish democracy to it's spiritual home? What an inspiration this could be for our politicians; and what a gift to the city :)

The building is simply stunning and deserves a more representative purpose..
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Re: Leinster house in dangerous condition

Postby gunter » Mon Sep 15, 2008 8:37 pm

searbh wrote:I think Leinster Lawn would cause uproar...

The college green site has plenty of space inside it for both houses of the oireachtas and more flexibility than you would imagine. Remember; the outside wall is just a screen.

How better to symbolize an irish or dublin "renaissance" than to return irish democracy to it's spiritual home? What an inspiration this could be for our politicians; and what a gift to the city :)

The building is simply stunning and deserves a more representative purpose..



Agree with you about the merits of B of I, College Green, but the problems are going to be:

[INDENT]1. it may be too remote from the secretariate services at Merrion Street and Kildare Street with very little obvious scope for 'office' facilities on site.

2. The banking hall (by Francis Johnson?) is now an intrinsic part of the building and it wouldn't be easy to carve out a new Dail chamber out of a the remaining warren of existing spaces, all of which have their own heritage value. [/INDENT]

I do think there's an inevitability about this building one day become Ireland's parliament house again, but not in the foreseeable (next couple of hundred years) future. Perhaps when the Civil Service has been slimmed down to three guys with notebooks, they could try it again.

On Leinster Lawn, I don't see much evidence of uproar yet!
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Re: Leinster house in dangerous condition

Postby notjim » Mon Sep 15, 2008 9:17 pm

There is no room at College Green, plain and simple: Leinster Lawn is pure genius provided the new building is sufficiently separated from Leinster House to permit the reopening of Kildare Place and the forecourt and the reuse of Leinster house for cultural purposes.
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Re: Leinster house in dangerous condition

Postby gunter » Mon Sep 15, 2008 10:52 pm

binki wrote:somebody told me that the OPW already have a plan for the complex and that it is groundbreaking. perhaps just a rumour.


Spill the beans. Go on, you must know more than that!
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Re: Leinster house in dangerous condition

Postby alonso » Tue Sep 16, 2008 9:05 am

that voting panel is priceless - like an Atari 2600
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Re: Leinster house in dangerous condition

Postby missarchi » Tue Sep 16, 2008 9:48 am

the lawn is a good idea and/or BOI CPO

if the politicians are really sneaky they will move to some island or somewhere with no public transport and therefore no more easy protests...

we could also have a tunnel to connect metro north so they could drive out of the city fast:p

the goldplated dailuas:D

and the...

dailunderground interconnector...

been watching to much batman!
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Re: Leinster house in dangerous condition

Postby Alek Smart » Tue Sep 16, 2008 10:18 am

Straying a bit OT here but worth a punt nonetheless.....:)
Has anybody a view on the "Siopa" which is now trading at the Kildare St entrance to Leinster House....?

I still have difficulty concealing my Glee?....Exazperation?....Bewilderment?.....in fact I`m unsure of What emotions are stirred deep within me as I struggle to come to terms with the thought processes which resulted in the design,construction and placement of this ediface

I rather think that Bucholz-McAvoy must have struggled to embrace this particular brief as what we have now resembles my garden shed after I have just pulled it apart searching for an important impliment my wife has put away for safe keeping.

The interesting aspect to this yoke is how easy it is to completely miss it as one promenades past in the Autumn sunshine....Its only when one peers through the railings or looks down from the top deck of a passing bus does one see the corner-shop in all its true glory:D

At least Bu-McA incorporated a bit of an oul "Shelter" to keep the meejia dry as they attempt to pry the truth out of some Politician in the manner of wresting the Rifle from Charlton Heston`s cold dead hands....:eek:

Even in today`s Irish Independent article we see how the Shops staffing by persons from the National Rehabilitation Centre has to be referred to in some form of attempt to justify it`s presence.

In the broader context of this topic this Siopa nua really does underline how little these Philistines comprehend of any form of culture,let alone Architecture :rolleyes:
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Re: Leinster house in dangerous condition

Postby fergalr » Tue Sep 16, 2008 10:49 am

The shop beggars belief. A battery of chocolate bars... I'd love to know what the rationale behind its construction was.
"Them kids need sweeties" seems to have been the expensive long and short of it.

Regarding Leinster House, yes it's pokey. Ridiculously so. But it's the home of the parliament of an independent Irish state and I get goosebumps every time I walk past the Kildare St entrance and see the tricolour flying above it. It's also the indisputable symbol of Irish democracy.

Architecturally,. the Seanad is housed in probably one of the finest legislative chambers in Europe. The room is exquisite, always the highlight for me of the mundane tours of the building. And the Dail chamber is a very handsome one, as another thread here has briefly expounded upon. The upper deck, so to speak, is a bit ould looking but the House of Commons looks very peculiar when you see the galleries above it too.This all being said, the naive little patriot inside me is biased when it comes to rooms as "sacred" as these, perhaps :p

But give us the Kildare St forecourt back!!! The Museum and Library have had their entrances robbed from them for the last 80years. It always feels like you're sidling into them when you go in the main doors - and these are two of Dublin finest Victorian buildings that we're talking about.
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Re: Leinster house in dangerous condition

Postby Peter Fitz » Tue Sep 16, 2008 11:34 am

fergair wrote:Regarding Leinster House, yes it's pokey. Ridiculously so. But it's the home of the parliament of an independent Irish state and I get goosebumps every time I walk past the Kildare St entrance and see the tricolour flying above it. It's also the indisputable symbol of Irish democracy.

Architecturally,. the Seanad is housed in probably one of the finest legislative chambers in Europe. The room is exquisite, always the highlight for me of the mundane tours of the building. And the Dail chamber is a very handsome one, as another thread here has briefly expounded upon. The upper deck, so to speak, is a bit ould looking but the House of Commons looks very peculiar when you see the galleries above it too.This all being said, the naive little patriot inside me is biased when it comes to rooms as "sacred" as these, perhaps

But give us the Kildare St forecourt back!!! The Museum and Library have had their entrances robbed from them for the last 80years. It always feels like you're sidling into them when you go in the main doors - and these are two of Dublin finest Victorian buildings that we're talking about.


I'd tend to agree with you fergair.

I'm not too sure what to make of modern parliament chambers, they generally leave me a little cold.

Aside from the Bundestag's impressive dome & the thinking behind it, the chamber itself seems to follow a fairly generic format that is almost standard across europe, little to distinguish one from the other in many cases.

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The dutch lower house, fairly depressing and also quite typical

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Scotland - probably the finest modern parliament chamber to date

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I think the heavy tiering in the Dail chamber creates a particular atmosphere (ok ok, when full) - something i'd like to see borrowed by modern interpretations.

In general i'd be loathe to start from scratch & would prefer to see parliament housed in a building that is steeped in our history. The Bank of Ireland is the only altermative for me, the first purpose built parliament house in the world, its not the place for a faceless bank.

Adjoining buildings on Foster Place / Dame Street & Westmoreland could be utilised if additional office space etc. is required. The main issue imo would be the distance from Government Buildings on Merrion St.

Again, no government here would get away with spending the likely 200m+ to relocate, i'll bet a refurb of Lenister house, which will cost a fair few quid in itself, is all that will ever happen.
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Re: Leinster house in dangerous condition

Postby johnglas » Tue Sep 16, 2008 11:53 am

PeterFitz: interesting to see your picture and generous comment on the Scottish Parliament bldg; I'm not a great fan of the new complex, but the chamber is definitely the best part of it (as it should be) - although even here the roofwork is grotesquely over-engineered and the desks for the MSPs seem to me quirkily self-indulgent. But it looks and feels well when you see it in the flesh (although I haven't attended a debate there). The German and Dutch examples are so bland by comparison.
I'm hoping to get over to Dublin at the beginning of December: how do you get a tour of Leinster House (I've done Govt Bldgs)?
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Re: Leinster house in dangerous condition

Postby GrahamH » Tue Sep 16, 2008 12:09 pm

With some difficulty! There are no organised public tours - you'll need to butter up a TD or two (and don't get me started on the Cabinet corridor of Government Buildings).

As much as the Bank of Ireland is desirable as a location for parliament (incidentally they don't own it anymore, they flogged it a couple of years ago for something like a piddling €15 million), as has been mentioned there is simply no adequate space for the truly enormous ancillary accommodation required, and makes little sense to move from one compromised historic site to another. Security is the other major consideration, and such an exposed site on all sides would probably render it unsuitable. The latter also has the potential to interfere unduly with the character of the main facade, and you could say goodbye to any attempts to declutter the forecourt and increase public access. Saying all that, the Banking Hall would be an ideal space for the Dáil Chamber - I don't see any problem in that respect. TDs could also have great fun marching around Pearce's abulatory corridors West Wing style, with the top lighting and deep shadows catching on blank sheets of vital State documents.

Now this yoke.

Image

As pretty as the chandeliers are with their sparkily candle bulbs (all long since replaced with nasty lumps of plastic CFLs), this area between the house and the Dáil Chamber surely must win the award for the most hideous ceremonial space in the country. When the Victorians did it badly, my god they pulled all the stops out. And then we added to it with the upper floating bridge decks, reinforced concrete columns with faux marble veining, and head wrecking carpets and curtains. Lovely stuff. The stunning 18th century bookcase the only saving grace.

No I agree Peter that the Dáil Chamber is an elegant space, and very well designed at the lower levels (although recent wheelchair provision has compromised the entire ensemble). No expense was spared back in the 1920s. The problem is the investment stopped half way up, resulting in the upper levels having never been fully resolved. They were added to piecemeal with the public gallery roundabout the 1930s and then the Royal Dublin Hotelesque champange-coloured aluminium glazing arrived probably in the 1960s, infilled in a manner that looks like bare wood and sheets of plywood from a distance. All of this needs major work.

The only reason the entrance hall looks so stunning is because the money was attained directly from Europe in anticipation of one of the European Presidencies. This is one of the few areas where real investment has been made (along with the Dáil bar) including the comprehensive Leinster House 2000 project to the north of the house.

The Seanad Chamber is extremely elegant, but overly cramped, and regardless of aesthethics one would have concerns about the affect of such heavy use on the fabric of the building. What level of structural intervention is required to sustain this use into the future? The PVC secondary glazing is similarly unacceptable but is obviously there for a reason associated with the Chamber...

Personally I think both the house and parliament would benefit from the removal of the Oireachtas away from the main house in favour of a new build on the Lawn. I'm in two minds about the Dail Chamber itself however - it's really of such quality and iconic status to warrant full retention at its present location. The potential for a dramatic contemporary roof structure encasing the historic furnishings however is a concept I find very appealling. This would also serve to highlight the original fittings, a rare example of 1920s furniture design in Ireland, and the last gasp of the classical school and indeed that of large scale mahogany installations on a European level.
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Re: Leinster house in dangerous condition

Postby StephenC » Tue Sep 16, 2008 12:24 pm

Of course those of you interested in seeing the building can do so on Friday evening during Culture Night
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Re: Leinster house in dangerous condition

Postby Peter Fitz » Tue Sep 16, 2008 12:37 pm

johnglas wrote:PeterFitz: interesting to see your picture and generous comment on the Scottish Parliament bldg]

I probably should have qualified my comments about the Scottish Chamber - 'probably the finest modern parliament chamber to date', its not so hard when all your contemporaries seem to specialise in bland surfaces with lashings of royal blue upholstery :rolleyes: it is a pretty impressive space nonetheless.

Graham is spot on about the tours, its not so easy unfortunately - your best bet is to see if you can tag along with another - i'd email the event desk - eventdesk@oireachtas.ie and play the innocent tourist. More info on:

http://www.oireachtas.ie/viewdoc.asp?fn=/documents/FAQ/document2.htm

GrahamH wrote:Personally I think both the house and parliament would benefit from the removal of the Oireachtas away from the main house in favour of a new build on the Lawn. I'm in two minds about the Dail Chamber itself however - it's really of such quality and iconic status to warrant full retention at its present location. The potential for a dramatic contemporary roof structure encasing the historic furnishings however is a concept I find very appealling. This would also serve to highlight the original fittings, a rare example of 1920s furniture design in Ireland, and the last gasp of the classical school and indeed that of large scale mahogany installations on a European level.


Now I'd settle for that ;) The upper half is desperately crying out for a complete re design - your contemporary roof suggestion could be stunning.

So perhaps a new home for the Seanad & other facilities in a signature building on Leinster Lawn, while allowing the main house itself to be completely restored, uses for some of its fine refurbished rooms anyone ?

Our Senators would also have to justify their existence before any such investment on a new Seanad was made. They need to be directly elected, at local election time, and the numbers appointed by the government of the day significatnly reduced - basically some chance that they might actually return a bill & be more than a rubber stamping operation.
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Re: Leinster house in dangerous condition

Postby weehamster » Tue Sep 16, 2008 2:16 pm

Image
I think this would better suit those massive FF egos. :rolleyes:
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Re: Leinster house in dangerous condition

Postby gunter » Tue Sep 16, 2008 2:51 pm

The Knesset is a nice 1960s example, or how about that floaty pulpit one from Star Wars? We don't want to end up with some 'Seanad only' Meath County Council lookalike.
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Re: Leinster house in dangerous condition

Postby lostexpectation » Tue Sep 16, 2008 4:01 pm

so is there modern plan of leinster house to show where all these poor civil servants are working?
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Re: Leinster house in dangerous condition

Postby searbh » Tue Sep 16, 2008 4:14 pm

How about dismantling the Leinster house Dáil chamber and reconstructing it with a contemporary roof design at college green? The former house of lords could be used as a seanad chamber.

There is really much more space around here than people imagine: extending the complex north to Fleet St. (obliterating that multi story car park on the way!) and west to Anglesea St. gives you just as much room as at present in Kildare St.

Building on Leinster Lawn would disrupt one of the last intact historical buliding ensembles in the city: are there any examples of this kind of thing being done well in our recent history? We have built very little to the highest modern aesthetic standards in dublin in recent times and this is no place for an experiment.

Maybe Leinster House could be reassigned as a taoiseach's or presidential residence?
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Re: Leinster house in dangerous condition

Postby johnglas » Tue Sep 16, 2008 8:08 pm

PeterFitz: thanks for the tip; I'll try that. I feel a bit like Candide having innocently triggered such a debate about LL. It did have some purpose when the House was a private house, but the integrity is already compromised and it did at one point host a major exhibition in the mid-19thC.
I do like the Dail chamber, but I agree the upper stages and the curtain(!) are seriously naff. The Chamber is interesting in that it is a compromise between the Westminster layout (opposing benches and therefore 'confrontational') and the 'auditorium' model (and therefore 'consensual'). I don't buy any of this 'consensual' mush; politics is a blood sport and government is deadly serious. So, indeed GrahamH, keep the Dail chamber.
But the Lawn is still a good place for the Senate House, with ancillary bldgs. You'll not be surprised gunter that I'd prefer a more symmetrical layout (with perhaps a mere 'neo-classical' hint - Benito wasn't all bad) than your notional plan, but a good contemporary infill would also fit the bill. Anyway, this is fantasy architecture, so:
Our democracy is more derived from Rome than Greece and isn't that picture of Catiline cowering alone while being denounced by Cicero so inspired ('Sic semper tyrannis!'). The Curia Iulia might look like a garden shed stripped of its ornament, but the Senatus Romanus did operate from this modest building. Pics from Wikipedia.
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Re: Leinster house in dangerous condition

Postby lostexpectation » Tue Sep 16, 2008 9:01 pm

my god that carpet is dreadful
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Re: Leinster house in dangerous condition

Postby gunter » Tue Sep 16, 2008 9:45 pm

johnglas wrote:I do like the Dail chamber . . . .
. . . but the Lawn is still a good place for the Senate House, with ancillary bldgs.


No. stop this we're diluting the idea.

The idea was: Build a new parliament house on Leinster Lawn, two chambers, no compromises!

The existing mahogany job is an ok lecture hall, (built as such by the RDS, was it not?) but it's no great shakes and nothing historical ever happened in it, anything interesting happened in College Green or the Mansion House.

Without a proper parliament chamber, this idea just becomes an office block with a board room. I'm not sacrificing Leinster Lawn for that.

I thought the hit was: getting the culchies out of Leinster House completely and adding it, and the lecture hall, back into the Kildare Street cultural complex mix.

For once, can we not do the usual half-assed Irish thing.

We want a purpose built parliament building; we want a new pedestrian link through this currently impenetrable block from Molesworth Street to Merrion Square; we want the biggest and best Georgian house in the city restored and open to the public and, we want a restored, expanded and enhanced 'dead zoo',

don't we?

*and yes, the carpet has to go*.
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Re: Leinster house in dangerous condition

Postby johnglas » Tue Sep 16, 2008 11:53 pm

Sorry, sir...
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Re: Leinster house in dangerous condition

Postby shadow » Wed Sep 17, 2008 8:00 am

Choc horror as Dail sweet shop costs over €1 million

SOME DÁIL members were choking on their choccies when the new sweetie shop opened recently at parliament's Kildare Street entrance: just how much did the impressive structure cost?

The new "An Siopa" was designed by hotshot architects Bucholz McEvoy to mirror the classy entrance pavilion next door for which they won an award.

They also designed the entrance huts on the Merrion Square side as part of an overall commission from the OPW. All very well, but Olivia Mitchell TD, for one, wondered at the cost of such a glorious chocolate box, in light of the fact that it took about three years to build. "It is effectively a lean-to on a clear site so it is hard to know how it could take so long, especially since the OPW has experience in this area," she says. "It became a sort of joke in Leinster House, we felt the Taj Mahal took less time to build."

Having asked a question in the Dáil, she was told that while the final accounts had not been completed, it was reckoned that the new building cost €800,000 excluding VAT and internal fittings. Total cost then is like to be over €1 million.

The Siopa is roughly 40sq m (431sq ft) - the size of many a household extension. The latest Bruce Shaw Handbook says that shops are costing around €1,050-€1,600 to build per sq m. Really smart commercial buildings can cost up to €6,000 per sq m, according to an industry source. The Siopa is coming in at around €20,000 per sq m, which may not surprise many a homeowner whose extension ended up costing way over the builders and architects estimates.

No doubt the costs were eaten up by the impressive building materials, conservation studies and cutting-edge technology: and the fridges deemed necessary to keep chocolate from melting what with all that glass.

For really hot days, the building has sun visors, window defrosters and adjustable air nozzles.

As chocoholics know, you just can't put a price on well preserved confectionery.

Irish Times 28 February 2008


Total cost then is like to be over €1 million.
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Re: Leinster house in dangerous condition

Postby Rory W » Thu Sep 18, 2008 3:34 pm

gunter wrote:NThe existing mahogany job is an ok lecture hall, (built as such by the RDS, was it not?) but it's no great shakes and nothing historical ever happened in it, anything interesting happened in College Green or the Mansion House..[/I]


Er - other than the fact it has been our parliament since 1922 then no nothing interesting has happened there (akin to saying nothing interesting has happened at westminster since the germans bombed it but hey-ho)

I think that any spend on a new parliament building of any sort would be frowned on, particularly given the current state of government popularity. Leinster house will be rewired and made structurally sound and none of the flights of fancy will happen
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