Leinster House, National Museum & Library complex

Re: Leinster house in dangerous condition

Postby notjim » Wed Sep 24, 2008 10:01 pm

but then it would be more or less lost to public use, the courts, the dubh-linn garden where they had Africa day, access to the Chester Beatty, the Green Energy concert; don't take them away.
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Re: Leinster house in dangerous condition

Postby fergalr » Wed Sep 24, 2008 10:09 pm

Well, in honesty the public get to see only one of the four sides of the courtyard. Leave that one, sure. Although I'm sure the Seanad Cathaoirleach would like very much to have a certain seat inside a certain room ;)

Image

Am I wrong in thinking that Collins Barracks was also considered as a location for Parliament?
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Re: Leinster house in dangerous condition

Postby GrahamH » Sat Sep 27, 2008 1:18 am

Oh pretty much every location was considered. The RHK was the only real runner, with extensive drawings made, but as mentioned the limiting accommodation coupled with the distant location made it unsuitable. What ruled the Castle out was the fact that the functions of the Four Courts required immediate relocation following the Civil War - the Castle proved the most suitable with a variety of large ceremonial rooms suited for court use. Thus Dublin Castle served as the national court complex from 1922 right up until c. 1930, ruling out any parlimentary use. As an interesting aside, fergal, the lion, unicorn and crown were removed from the throne canopy in order for the Supreme Court to be housed in the Throne Room. They weren't re-erected until the 1950s after they were discovered in storage (though they were positioned the wrong way around upon reinstatement).

A further interesting detail, and its curious that you mention the Cathaoirleach's chair, is that I am completely convinced that the current Cathaoirleach's chair in the Seanad is in fact one of the Viceregal thrones dating to the late 19th century. It's generally known (if not always actively made known) that the Presidential throne for used for inaugurations every seven years is a re-upholstered and slightly altered Viceregal throne, with the crown motif removed and other minor decorative changes made. What is not generally known is that there were two Viceregal thrones - a pair made in the late 19th century for the Viceroy and Vicerine to perch upon in St. Patrick's Hall during occasions of state. One of these is the Presidential throne, the other I am sure was pragmatically recycled in the frugal 1920s for use as the Cathaoirleach's seat in the newly created Seanad Chamber. Indeed upon enquiring about it in Leinster House, I got the most bizarrely gruff and awkward hasty rebuttal I have ever heard that it merely confirmed the suspicions.

Image


The timber forms of Wales are beautiful, but agreed that too little focus nowadays tends to be placed on both the form of the seating and its design. Though its fair to say every parliament choses a layout that suits them best, the design of the lower levels is so critcal to the public image of the chamber yet doesn't seem to get the attention that the inevitable iconic ceiing treatment receives. Agreed this element requires greater consideration and that its form works as much as a television set as it does a piece of living architecture.
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Re: Leinster house in dangerous condition

Postby fergalr » Sat Sep 27, 2008 4:07 am

From Wikipedia:

The Viceregal throne is the former throne of the Viceroy of Ireland (the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland). A set of thrones, one for the Viceroy and one for his wife, the Vicereine, were used on state occasions in Dublin Castle. The set were photographed on a dias in St. Patrick's Hall in an image in the Lawrence Collection, now owned by the National Library of Ireland.

Image

Graham, you're right! What is presumably the Vicereine's throne is being used in the Senate! That beading or whatever it is down the sides of the chair is identical. If the Cathaoirleach's head was slightly askew, we could see if a scroll topped his chair too.

And, by the power of Greyskull... I mean, Oireachtas.ie:

Image

The tops are somewhat different. Not that doesn't make you wrong in assessing the chair's progeny.
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Re: Leinster house in dangerous condition

Postby Paul Clerkin » Fri Oct 03, 2008 2:41 am

Leinster House plan
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Re: Leinster house in dangerous condition

Postby lostexpectation » Fri Oct 03, 2008 3:49 pm

so is that the dail on the left???
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Re: Leinster house in dangerous condition

Postby fergalr » Sat Oct 04, 2008 5:25 pm

It really is tiny, isn't it? No, that's the Oireachtas library there on the left, the Seanad's on the floor directly above and the Dail is down that corridor on the right, out of the building entirely.

There's actually some quite interesting stuff on the design rationale for that new extension they built a few yrs back. Which I will wander off and try to find...

*UPDATE, yeah I can't find it but there is some good waffle on extending the "Parliamentary Corridor" into the new wing. The augustly named Parliamentary Corridor is the plain old first floor corridor, which by luck is on axis with the two chambers.
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Re: Leinster house in dangerous condition

Postby fergalr » Sat Oct 04, 2008 5:29 pm

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Re: Leinster house in dangerous condition

Postby Peter Fitz » Mon Oct 06, 2008 11:13 am

OK, now don't go through me here, the following is just a suggestion ...

There is a fairly magnfiicent reading room, not a million miles away and in the shape of a horse-shoe no less - so is the long term solution to the capacity problems of Leinster House not staring us in the face, that is that its flanking wings - The National Library & National Museum could make spectacular new homes for Dail & Seanad Eireann respectively.

Both houses of the Oireachtas directly facing each other, across a redesigned courtyard set against the backdrop of Leinster House itself.

I'm sure many in the National Library would pass out at the suggestion that they be shifted from their fine home, but if ever you wanted an antidote to the ugly arrangement of the uppers of the existing chamber, the spectacular vaulted ceiling of the reading room has to be it.

Image

... and its nicely placed to receive a reconfigured arrangement of the existing chamber seating ...

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... with a fine leading staircase ...

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... and entrance hall ...

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Add to this, two fine new signature buildings for the city to re-house the national library & national museum. College Green could benefit from one or other as could many other places around the city.

I await your verbal fireballs of contempt :D
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Re: Leinster house in dangerous condition

Postby gunter » Mon Oct 06, 2008 11:35 am

This is taking nest hopping too far.

We'd have to take the bell off the Ceann Comhairle and make him shout cookoo
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Re: Leinster house in dangerous condition

Postby Rory W » Mon Oct 06, 2008 12:18 pm

What would be the point of depriving people of the Reading room & National Museum just so some glorified County Councillors can sit in splendor - government (and politics) is generally unpopular enough already without this landgrab.

They are after the Natural History Museum for the seanad anyway - don't give them any further ideas!!!!!
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Re: Leinster house in dangerous condition

Postby Peter Fitz » Mon Oct 06, 2008 1:07 pm

RoryW wrote:What would be the point of depriving people of the Reading room & National Museum just so some glorified County Councillors can sit in splendor - government (and politics) is generally unpopular enough already without this landgrab.

They are after the Natural History Museum for the seanad anyway - don't give them any further ideas!!!!!


Well whether we respect them or not Rory, our state is shaped from the Dail chamber, with consequences for all of us, the events of last week being a case in point ...fairly glib dismissal, no? ;)
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Re: Leinster house in dangerous condition

Postby Rory W » Mon Oct 06, 2008 1:44 pm

Peter Fitz wrote:Well whether we respect them or not Rory, our state is shaped from the Dail chamber, with consequences for all of us, the events of last week being a case in point ...fairly glib dismissal, no? ;)


When there's a credit crunch on and jobs are being lost around the country I don't think its glib to say that most of the population would be against replacing the current dail chamber with a sumptious room. So no, not a glib dismissal at all
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Re: Leinster house in dangerous condition

Postby Peter Fitz » Mon Oct 06, 2008 2:04 pm

RoryW wrote:When there's a credit crunch on and jobs are being lost around the country I don't think its glib to say that most of the population would be against replacing the current dail chamber with a sumptious room. So no, not a glib dismissal at all


Damn right it wont have public support, i'm suggesting this in the context of a thread that has proposed the construction of an entirely new parliament housing both dail & seanad. Spending on facilities & buildings for politicians will never have wide scale public support, thats agiven.

What we're discussing here are generally fancifull notions of what could be done should finances permit, thats obviously the context. And for the record, as i've said earlier on this thread, i doubt very much any of the options discussed here will happen, government just wouldn't get away with it.
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Re: Leinster house in dangerous condition

Postby hutton » Mon Oct 06, 2008 5:34 pm

Eh Chaz Mahal, anyone? There (Govt Buildings), Four Courts and a few others CJH made it his business to see restored when he was Taoiseach - and that was amidst the worst of the 80s economic climate... Never thought I'd find myself defending Haughey on planning matters :D

Peter Fitz's suggestion seems the best to me so far... Cowen could do worse as a gesture to the capital then to make sure that are stately buildings are used as that - with the GPO already in line, Bank of Ireland on College Green would make an excellent state cultural landmark.


Or then again, what say the GPO as the new home for the Dail?

Now there's an idea :)
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Re: Leinster house in dangerous condition

Postby notjim » Mon Oct 06, 2008 5:42 pm

I really hate the idea that the GPO stop being a post-office, isn't it a great joy and privilege to maintain this link to when the post was an important function of state deserving of stately buildings.
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Re: Leinster house in dangerous condition

Postby hutton » Mon Oct 06, 2008 5:53 pm

notjim wrote:I really hate the idea that the GPO stop being a post-office, isn't it a great joy and privilege to maintain this link to when the post was an important function of state deserving of stately buildings.


Important once, but arcane now... Were it that there was still a singular state entity for communications, including say telephone and web, as it somewhat was with P&T, then it would make sense... Truth though is that we have a massive stately building on the capital's main thoroughfare which is going much under-utilized; let's let it live again with a renewed sense of purpose :)
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Re: Leinster house in dangerous condition

Postby gunter » Mon Oct 06, 2008 6:38 pm

This might be a good time to remind everybody that maintaining buildings in their original use, wherever possible, is one of the most fundamental principles of good building conservation.

The elegance of the Leinster Lawn idea was that it proposed a 'purpose built' parliament complex in place of the existing second hand arrangement that we have now with parliamentary functions shoe-horned into buildings designed for other purposes.

Not only that but the 'new build' idea frees up Leinster House to be integrated into a great cultural complex (National Library & National Museum on Kildare Street and National Gallery & Natural History Museum on Merrion Square), as originally intended.

The Peter Fitz idea, despite being inspirational in it's own right, does the exact opposite to this by hijacking the whole Kildare Street half of the National cultural complex. This complex has the potential to be Dublin's equivalent of Berlin's 'Museum Island', a cultural complex other cities would kill for. Any hope of fulfilling these dreams, or of creating public permeability through the site from Kildare Street to Merrion Square, would be lost and Leinster House itself will just become a corridor between the two houses of the Oireachtas.

BTW, I don't subscribe to the view that the Leinster Lawn idea has to be extravagently expensive, a bit of frugal simplicity could go a long way, and set a good example.

It's not not like they don't have enough contacts in the building industry!
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Re: Leinster house in dangerous condition

Postby Peter Fitz » Mon Oct 06, 2008 8:38 pm

gunter wrote:The elegance of the Leinster Lawn idea was that it proposed a 'purpose built' parliament complex in place of the existing second hand arrangement that we have now with parliamentary functions shoe-horned into buildings designed for other purposes.

Not only that but the 'new build' idea frees up Leinster House to be integrated into a great cultural complex (National Library & National Museum on Kildare Street and National Gallery & Natural History Museum on Merrion Square), as originally intended.


No doubt my suggestion torpedos the possibility of creating a great cultural complex, which does sound like it could be great, but to be honest i just dont see that the Leinster Lawn site is frankly good enough for a national parliament - any new build would i feel amount to an odd piece of in fill in the front garden of a fine mansion, lined up with, well nothing - all a little hotch potch like i think, which is surely what we're trying to get away from.

Of course it all depends on what final proposals would come in for the Leinster Lawn site (in our hypothetical world here!) but i think it would be hard to beat the stature & poise of the Leinster House, National Library, National Museum buildings combined.
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Re: Leinster house in dangerous condition

Postby Pilear » Tue Oct 07, 2008 3:09 pm

Id like to see the GPO remain as a post office but if its going to be a shopping centre id much prefer it as the new dail. it could even be ready by 2016? the chambers could be in the courtyard if it was glazed over?
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Re: Leinster house in dangerous condition

Postby fergalr » Wed Nov 12, 2008 3:43 pm

http://fergalreid.blogspot.com/2008/11/dail-bar-one-of-irelands-best-kept.html

Popped in last night for a scoop in the bar ;) It is teeny. One of the guides said his preference was for a new building in the Phoenix Park.
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Re: Leinster house in dangerous condition

Postby gunter » Wed Nov 12, 2008 6:44 pm

One of the commended projects in the student section of the Opus Building Awards, at Plan Expo last week, was for a new Dáil building, but at the Kildare Place site between the Museum and the Dept. of Agriculture building, rather than on the Leinster Lawn site, which I still think is a brilliant idea.

It looked quite interesting and it had a horseshoe shaped Dáil chamber, but I didn't have time to take down the details or get a picture. Maybe someone else caught a glimpse?
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Re: Leinster house in dangerous condition

Postby Global Citizen » Thu Dec 04, 2008 12:43 pm

As I understand it, only the original 18th century building in the Leinster House complex is in need of repair. The Dail chamber is housed in a seperate extension and is not falling down. Therefore I see no reason to relocate it. As the Seanad sits in within Leinster House proper, a temporary home would be required, but not the Natural History Museum. The "Dead Zoo" has a unique charm and any attempt to tamper with it would ruin it.
I cannot warm to the suggestion to build on Leinster Lawn. It is a novel idea but I believe this garden is an integral part of the buildings that surround it, and it gives the house a sense if dignity and serenity. Any additional structures on the lawn could result in a cluttered mess resulting in an unnecessarily busy appearance. It has already been vandalised with the addition of the car park but this is easy to rectify.

Kildare Place - Now there is a location with potential. Standing on Kildare Street with The Department of Agriculture to your right and the back of The National Museum on your left you are faced with an ugly wall behind which sit a cluster of seemingly nondescript buildings including one particularly offensive 6 story grey block. Get rid of these and you have the space to create a signiture building to compliment the existing parliament with a new grand entrance in place of that wall. The image supplied by Graham below is the best I could find that captures both Leinster Lawn and Kildare Place.

GrahamH wrote:Image



Extra space could be gained by relocating the Dept. of Ag and knocking that monstrocity. Also, by opening the backdoor of the museum some life could be injected into Kildare Place.
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Re: Leinster house in dangerous condition

Postby archipig » Thu Dec 04, 2008 5:55 pm

Never knew there was a heli pad on the roof!
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Re: Leinster house in dangerous condition

Postby Global Citizen » Thu Dec 04, 2008 7:55 pm

Never mind the feckin helipad on the roof.
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