Fully agreed, d_d_dallas, that the Dunnes development is better than the Academy Street effort, the latter of which is retail architecture at its wallpapering worst - thin, weak, incoherent, false, chaotic at roof level, and thoroughly uninspired overall. Dunnes by contrast (literally) has a managed to inject considerably more style and sense of permanance - dare one even say a dash of urbanisim - into their ensemble, with a more controlled palatte of materials used in a distingushed manner. The high contrast stone finishes coupled with crisp angular forms is refreshing and eye-catching, if predictably detailed in parts. The side elevations I thought looked particularly interesting, but how they work as new street frontages I couldn't observe, with the rights of way still sealed off. There is a concern that they will be unduly monolithic with acres of dead frontage. Hopefully not.
The Patrick's Street elevation does not photograph well, looking considerably better in real life. Taking account of the wider jumbled streetscape, I think it does a reasonable - if arrogant - job in expressing the 21st century Dunnes. Its form is sharp and distinctive, and the expansive glazing not without justifcation at this junction. The extensive variety of building shapes and other streets punctured in the streetscape along this stretch makes such a prominent feature fit in rather comfortably. The glazing is inoffensive, and is something that can be replaced with ease at any point. Indeed, it appears almost as though a mere transitional phase in the terrace's evolution; standing as an interesting monument to the transient character of modern retailing, it being highly likely that something else will be occupying this site in twenty years time.
Also agreed that none of the branded lettering works. It is comprised of overly-bulky and protruding internally-illuminated lettering, which is both cumbersome in its own right and inaccurately scaled relative to context almost everywhere it is used on the complex. A shame, as the brand concept itself is quite nice.