Henrietta Street

Re: Henrietta Street

Postby BTH » Tue Feb 21, 2006 8:57 pm

Who are the Architects?
I'm assuming (please god!) that it isn't De Blacam & Meagher despite the completely blatant rip offs of elements of both Castle Street (check out the steps out in the facade above the corner entrance), and the Wooden Building in Temple Bar (the rustic arts & crafts style brickwork and lime mortar.).
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Re: Henrietta Street

Postby Bren88 » Tue Feb 21, 2006 8:58 pm

a boyle wrote:A few people have said that it looks poorly from kings street and bolton street , fine. It looks quite good from henrietta street and that is what actually matters.


Why is it only Henrietta st that matters. I don't agree with you that it looks ok from henrietta st, but even if it did, how would that excuse the way it looks from Bolton or Kings INN street. It is just as much on Bolton street as it is on Herrietta, and alot more people are going to see it from Bolton/Dorset/Kings Inn streets so would these views be equally important. I see this building everyday, If I look the window now i could probably strain to see it, but i won't torture my eyes any further.
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Re: Henrietta Street

Postby phil » Tue Feb 21, 2006 9:29 pm

BTH wrote:Who are the Architects?


http://www.bpa.ie/
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Re: Henrietta Street

Postby Bren88 » Tue Feb 21, 2006 9:48 pm

Thought it might be useful to see how they wanted it to look. This was the idea. Not exactly whats is delivered.
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Re: Henrietta Street

Postby GrahamH » Wed Feb 22, 2006 3:15 am

It looks quite well there, though still hugely overscaled.

a boyle the money 'not being there' is not an excuse for such an average project on such an important site - not that I'd believe it for a second anyway. I'd sooner have a derelict site here with the challenging potential still in place for a good building to be built, then what we now have. What has been built is not disastrous, but it is standard fare in the broader context of apartment development, and mediocre for such an important location.

Agreed about the brick used - a good choice on the part of BPA I think. It reflects the general character of the street well without descending into pastiche, nor going into the opposite, often crazed realm of ‘contrast generation’. It’s an attractive contemporary brick, which is largely complemented by the light mortar used (must state an interest of being a fan of that combination), which can stand on its own two feet. Similarly the matching parapet level when looking up into the street is superb – it flows seamlessly into the upper terrace.

But it is the massing, the proportions, and the detailing that is so poor. Knowing little of contemporary design, even I noticed the tokenistic use of De B&M’s cut out corner :). It’s just been applied as a distraction on what is otherwise a giant brown box, as have the balconies and timber cladding.
Looking at their site, one would wonder if this is the first major urban commission they’ve had...
(that first house extension featured on About the House recently).

Even the original balconies could have made such a difference:
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Re: Henrietta Street

Postby ctesiphon » Wed Feb 22, 2006 5:17 am

I did a college project a couple of years ago in which I had to object to the granting of permission for this building, so I became fairly familiar with the site.

aj- DCC did have a conservation proposal for the whole street coming on stream in early 2004, but I don't know if they followed through with it. I certainly haven't seen any results.

Most of the opinions expressed here would reflect my own- overscaled, lazy workmanship, cheap materials. (I loved your description of the balconies, Graham, as being "like some ignoramus speaking to you with sunglasses on":) ).
I agree that the building properly belongs to the streetscape of Bolton Street rather than to Henrietta Street, and should have been scaled accordingly. As Devin said, it should have respected the scale hierarchy of the two streets (see my quote below).
The reason for its similarity to the building on Castle Street was that the planner in question, in refusing permission for the first scheme on this site (if you think what we now have is bad, you should have seen the first one:eek: ), recommended that the architects look at that building for an idea of how to deal with a corner. So it appears that they took him a bit too literally.
(See this thread for a previous mention of this matter, where you'll notice that I'm also not a huge fan of the Castle Street building.)

Anyway, rather than rehash the arguments from my college project I'll just quote the relevant bit regarding my main objection to this building:

As previously outlined, Henrietta Street is one of the most important urban set pieces in Dublin. Not only are its houses some of the grandest town houses anywhere in the country, it also possesses a feature which makes it unique among its peers. The Georgian era followed a classical model in both architecture and urban design. The rules of proportion and harmony in building design had a wider application in the formal layout of streets and spaces, as evidenced in Dublin by such compositions as Fitzwilliam, Merrion and Mountjoy Squares, and the works of the Wide Streets Commissioners. This rational process was also manifest in the hierarchical design of the streets, where the sequence of main street, subsidiary street and mews lane was reflected in the diminishing scale of the buildings associated with each. Georgian buildings also display a markedly frontal character, the classical symmetry not extending to the rere or sides, and this results in subsidiary streets seeming to split the continuity of terrace facades. This was the case with Bolton Street and Henrietta Street in their original form: standard plots on Bolton Street of a street-fronted house with a rere yard and mews building, divided by the entrance to Henrietta Street.
However, what makes this example unique is that instead of a lesser scale, as would be expected, Henrietta Street is considerably grander than Bolton Street. This is not apparent from vantage points further along Bolton Street, and part of the character of the street is the surprise experienced as this semi-formal set piece is revealed in such an unlikely situation, an effect heightened by its narrow ‘entrance’ at the eastern end.
The proposed development would diminish this sense of discovery by announcing the location of the junction from afar, and would soften the abrupt juxtaposition of scales on which the surprise is based due to its imposing height and volume. While the Planner’s Report argues that ‘The proposal… provides a presence of scale onto both Henrietta Street and Bolton Street, which is essential at this prominent corner location.’ (Evaluation), we would submit that this opinion derives from an understanding of urban form consistent with contemporary trends, but inconsistent with the Georgian tradition of planarity, linearity and sequential hierarchy.
Any development that would serve to undermine the character of this area should be resisted. We realise that the site underwent many subsequent changes throughout the nineteenth century, with the original relationships of scale blurred by infill buildings facing Henrietta Street, and we would generally be in favour of acknowledging all phases of urban evolution. But owing to the uniqueness of this setting, there is a strong argument to be made for re-establishing the original form.

‘A [conservation area] scheme…may include objectives for:

(c) the renewal, preservation, conservation, restoration, development or redevelopment of the streetscape, layout and building pattern…’ (Emphasis added.)
(Part IV, Section 84, subsection 2, Planning and Development Act 2000)

Although the completion of the Conservation Plan may be some time away (currently intended for September 2004), the fact that the process has begun is a positive development for the area. There is a danger that any scheme undertaken in the meantime would not be consistent with the findings and recommendations of such a plan and could compromise the future proper planning and development of the area. According to the Planning & Development Act 2000 (4th Schedule, Section 3), refusal without compensation is appropriate where:

‘Development of the kind proposed would be premature by reference to the order of priority, if any, for development indicated in the development plan or pending the adoption of a local area plan in accordance with the development plan.’ (Emphasis added.)

I had other grounds for objection too, such as refuse storage, inadequate parking, overloking and overshadowing, but they aren't apparent from an external examination of the building.

Shame it was only a college project, as it got a bloody good mark from a former Board Inspector who was our tutor for the module.

I have pictures of the site pre-development if anyone's interested. A funny two-storey carpet showroom of no merit, but as has been said there's only one chance to get something like this right, and if in doubt it should have been left alone.

EDIT: It appears I have already attached one! Sorry it's in Word, but it's all I've got.
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Re: Henrietta Street

Postby DJM » Sun Mar 05, 2006 5:51 am

Here are a few more pics. Some may be a little bit dated by now (taken in January 06) but I think they further illustrate some of the points made above. Apologies for the poor picture quality of some - smudged lense due to pesky little cousins :)

Incidentally, I've heard that Hidden Dublin on Newstalk 106 have recorded an episode on Henrietta Street that is due to be aired in the very near future. I think the shows go out on Mondays/Tuesdays at about 12pm, but it'll be available on the web via Podcasting in any event.

Image Photo 001

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Image Photo 005

Image Photo 007

Image Photo 004
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Re: Henrietta Street

Postby DJM » Sun Mar 05, 2006 5:52 am

Image Photo 002

Image Photo 011

Image Photo 030

Image Photo 078

Image Photo 084
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Re: Henrietta Street

Postby Ciaran » Sun Mar 05, 2006 6:11 am

Can someone explain why there are all those doors to nowhere in the walls? Surely it can't be just for their "good looks"!
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Re: Henrietta Street

Postby hutton » Mon Mar 06, 2006 3:42 pm

DJM wrote:
Incidentally, I've heard that Hidden Dublin on Newstalk 106 have recorded an episode on Henrietta Street that is due to be aired in the very near future. I think the shows go out on Mondays/Tuesdays at about 12pm, but it'll be available on the web via Podcasting in any event.


On Now on 106fm - http://www.newstalk106.ie

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Re: Henrietta Street

Postby publicrealm » Wed Mar 08, 2006 3:01 am

Devin wrote:

"The sickening thing is DCC knew there had been earlier objections to it so there was a much greater onus on them to get it right (given that there were no objections in on this one & could be no appeal). It shows you that they will grant permission for almost anything ... scared shitless to remove a storey. The city is stuck with this wrong building now forever, because of some stupid planner. I think that after this construction boom, questions are going to be asked about DCC decision making. You just have to look at this building and what's happening in somewhere like Cork Street ...."

I'm not sure if I have the correct building - but if I have then I beg to differ. A quick search on 43-45 Bolton St/17 &17a Bolton St shows just 5 applications, dating from 2003 (2), 2004 (2) and 2006 (more anon).

Two of these (in 2003) appear to be the effective 'parent permissions' and the two 2004 applications were for modifications. Of these 4 three were granted and one was invalidated. They all appear to me to be uncomplicated applications, certainly not confusing.

I know the planner involved (as mentioned on the file) to be very highly qualified and very well regarded.

The main parent permission contained 24 conditions - one of which deals with the need to ensure that bricwork and bonding must be of the highest quality and that bonding should be to the traditional method.

The reality is that the "stupid planner' (who probably only has 2 or 3 relevant degrees) must address what the "clever architect" designs. It would not be appropriate for stupid planners to design (or redesign) such structures. Rather he (or she) must try to balance the need for renewal with the appaling mediocrity churned out by the (considerable) majority of architects. Generally the best that the stupid planner can do is to mitigate the worst excesses of the architect.

Personally I think that the building is quite typical of the rubbish currently being produced, and is particularly grotesque in this particular setting.

But the stupid planner didn't design it , the file is not in the least complicated and Henrietta Street has a number of residents who are expert s in the the planning system. Seems (to me) a bit hard to blame the planner? Maybe you should have lodged an objection (I often do).

ps. the latest (2006) application is for an off licence. (and you are too late to object).

pps. I am not an architect :D
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Re: Henrietta Street

Postby ctesiphon » Wed Mar 08, 2006 3:35 am

Fair points, publicrealm.
My understanding of the case was that the original scheme was somewhat bulkier and clunkier than the existing one and, through consultation between the planner in question (agreed on his reputation too, btw, from what little I know) and the architects, a new scheme was submitted, with amendments suggested by Conditions (including a reduction in parapet height of approx. 1.5 metres, if memory serves). It was at this consultation stage that the suggestion of taking inspiration from Castle Street was first made. So the planner actually made a poor scheme better, but I still think it falls short of what this site requires.

However, I'm somewhat cloudy on whether the revised scheme was submitted as a new application, in effect resetting the clock on the third party submissions process, or if it was done simply as a Further Information type affair, which might have militated against the involvement of interested parties or at the very least might not have been in the spirit of the game, so to speak.

I still stand over my previous point, though, that the planner's "opinion derives from an understanding of urban form consistent with contemporary trends, but inconsistent with the Georgian tradition of planarity, linearity and sequential hierarchy." It might sound cheeky, not to say nit-picking, but at this site I think nothing but the best should have been permitted. And as I alluded to above, other areas such as parking, refuse, etc were problematic, in some respects falling below DCC minimum standards.
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Re: Henrietta Street

Postby Devin » Wed Mar 08, 2006 7:38 am

Publicrealm,

I am not having a go at planners here. I hold the Irish planning profession and everything it stands for in the highest regard. As you will know it has a history of inadequate resourcing and subversion by non-planning local authority staff or other outside interests, but it remains the critical determinant in the quality of our built environment - as has all-too-unfortunately been borne out in case of the Henrietta Street building.

With regard to use of the word “stupid”, I think a sense of perspective is needed. It is the internet and the planner in question is not being named, so I reserve the right to use the word “stupid” if I wish. Worse is said of named individuals in the media every day.

The planner involved may well be “highly qualified”, but they made a grievous mistake in passing this building in its current form, especially as there had been detailed submissions in opposition to it, to plans previous to the one which was passed. I cannot check reference numbers at the moment, but I know that two separate applications for the building were running concurrently – this is why I use the word ‘confusion’.

Some contributors to the thread have criticised the materials and finishing of the building. I wouldn’t have any problems here. I think the brick was carefully chosen for the context and the so-rarely-used lime mortar was a treat (though the brick bonding is not in fact in the ‘traditional’ method as you say (‘Flemish bond’), but is the quicker and easier ‘stretcher bond’). I even like some of the architectural detailing such as the frosted glass balcony panels and their steel frames. I think the timber panelling was well-used. Had the building been at an appropriate scale and articulation, I think its materials and finishing would have been most complimentary to Henrietta Street, and the building as a whole could have been a great success.

But it is a tragically overscaled building. Even by the standards of the planner’s argument (as indicated by ctesiphon’s quote that their “opinion derives from an understanding of urban form consistent with contemporary trends, but inconsistent with the Georgian tradition of planarity, linearity and sequential hierarchy.") the building not a success. It is monolithic and unbalancing.

The planner, not the architect, was the final determinant of the building that is now on Henrietta Street. You say (sarcastically) that “the best that the stupid planner can do is to mitigate the worst excesses of the architect” - but that wasn’t done in this case; i.e. reduction of the building to an appropriate scale / requesting of an appropriately-scaled redesign. This is a tragedy for Henrietta Street and a blow for Dublin’s Georgian planning in general.

As well as anything could possibly do today, I think Rocque’s map of Dublin (below) - 250 years old this year - illustrates the hierarchical relationship between Bolton Street and Henrietta Street. The consideration of this relationship should have been the starting point for development proposals at the corner:


Image
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Re: Henrietta Street

Postby Devin » Wed Mar 08, 2006 8:00 am

publicrealm wrote:Maybe you should have lodged an objection (I often do).

ps. the latest (2006) application is for an off licence. (and you are too late to object).
As a matter of fact I have lodged an objection to the off license and signage design for a Spar convenience store in the ground floor of the building (Ref. 1199/06).
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Re: Henrietta Street

Postby PVC King » Thu Mar 09, 2006 12:38 am

As a building material is this type of brick gone from grace or is it merely the way it was used that has caused offence?
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Re: Henrietta Street

Postby publicrealm » Thu Mar 09, 2006 12:52 am

Devin wrote

"You say (sarcastically) that [I]“the best that the stupid planner can do is to mitigate the worst excesses of the architect”

I'm afraid I was not being sarcastic. And I am not as comfortable as you are in describing a hardworking public servant as stupid on a public forum (it seems that a number of people already know the individual's name - those who do not merely have to check the file reference on the DCC website). Of course you do have the right to do so.

Nor am I suggesting that planners always succeed in their endeavours (I agree that there are numerous examples of failure - including the case in question) - just that most planners are well intentioned and diligent and are trying to deal with an unrelenting tide of architectural mediocrity against strict statutory deadlines and under the beady eye of the Manager and his apparatchicks.

I would tend to agree that there is a lack of appreciation of heritage matters within the planning profession however - and it is in this area that An Taisce has an invaluable role to play (but that could be a whole new thread .:D

I really think it is unreasonable to expect planners to prevail in such circumstances. I do not know what the answer is but a large part of the problem stems from the greedy and underdesigned applications - (and I know too that many jobbing architects are under immense pressure to maximise the floor area and minimise the cost - the cost to the developer that is).
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Re: Henrietta Street

Postby DJM » Thu Mar 09, 2006 1:21 am

Personally speaking, I think it's the way in which they've been used that has caused offence - A lot of the units havn't been properly alligned with neighbouring rows. The colour works very well in relation to the townhouses.

What's the philosophy on using a mock Flemish bond in such circumstances? - given the existence of the townhouses, perhaps it would have been more appropriate to do so. Or would this be seen as a crass impersonation? Stretcher seems to be the accepted norm these days, but it would be interesting to hear a Conservationist's take on this...

I havn't been able to figure out whether the bricks are reclaimed, or simply produced to give an 'Olde Worlde' look - surely it's unlikely for a salvage yard to have such a massive stockpile of bricks in such a uniform colour. But if this is so, then why so many cracks & chips ?

The brickwork facade would look ok if it was laid symmetrically and if most of the bricks had right-angled corners.
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Re: Henrietta Street

Postby DJM » Thu Mar 09, 2006 1:30 am

Publicrealm you git! You've nicked my plan to start a thread on An Taisce :mad: Get cracking or I'll have one up in the next few days ;)

I think what you've said in the above post is a very fair and balanced view on the role of all parties involved in the planning process. More man power up in Wood Quay, and indeed throughout the country would seem to be a starting point to rectifying the situation.
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Re: Henrietta Street

Postby Devin » Thu Mar 09, 2006 4:56 am

Make no mistake about it - the Henrietta Street decision was a bad decision by Dublin City Council planner ........ . ......... (Ooooh, nearly said the name there!! :) ).
As I said, detailed 3rd party submissions were made (on plans almost identical to the approved one) on the huge scale of the building and the need for significant scaling-back. These concerns were ignored and the building approved, and – even more ominously – with the knowledge that, as there had been no 3rd party submissions to the approved plan, it could not come before the appeals board (thanks to the restrictive measures of the Planning & Development Act 2000 on the taking of appeals).


publicrealm wrote:I really think it is unreasonable to expect planners to prevail in such circumstances.
What?!! :eek: Are you serious?! Well they had bloody well better be able to prevail when there’s a site like the Henrietta Street corner at stake!! (Ok, I’m being OTT, but you get the drift).

To be honest, publicrealm, I can’t make that much sense of your last post at all. You seem to be trying to tell me that most planners are well-intentioned and diligent – did I say they weren’t? You tell me planners are under-resourced and under pressure from other forces – did I not say this in my last post? You seem to think I’m attacking planners as a whole – already said I’m not. Good decisions are made. Bad decisions are made. As it happens the proportion of good decisions (decisions that accord with proper planning and sustainable development) would tend to be higher in Dublin than elsewhere. Dublin City Council have just refused an overscaled 8-storey building on a rear site behind protected structures on Aungier Street (Ref.1037/06) – a good decision. But Henrietta Street was a bad decision. Where did I say I there was a lack of appreciation of heritage matters among the planning profession? – the issue with the Henrietta Street building, as I and others have maintained, is good urban design & cognisance of historic town planning.

publicrealm wrote:I do not know what the answer is but a large part of the problem stems from the greedy and underdesigned applications
The answer is - would you believe - MORE RESOURCES! :)
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Re: Henrietta Street

Postby DJM » Thu Mar 09, 2006 5:40 pm

Point taken Devin. :)

More resources??? Master of the bleedin obvious or what :o
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Re: Henrietta Street

Postby Devin » Tue May 23, 2006 8:02 am

The Henrietta Street building just gets worse ...
Check out the completed roofline from the Bolton Street approach:
.
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Re: Henrietta Street

Postby Andrew Duffy » Tue May 23, 2006 10:43 am

Sadly, it's actually the best building in that shot. There is a neglected townhouse squeezed in there, but it's in very poor condition.
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Re: Henrietta Street

Postby PVC King » Tue May 23, 2006 11:12 am

I agree but feel that your observation speaks more about the functionality as opposed to beauty of its neighbours than the design suitibility of the subject design for this location. In most other City Centre sites this would be a highly welcome design it is simply the location at the end of Henrietta Street that is problematic
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Re: Henrietta Street

Postby PDLL » Tue May 23, 2006 11:47 am

The unfortunate thing about Georgian Dublin is that for some reason architects appear to feel somewhat compelled by its legacy to design every inner-city building which they design in a basic rectilinear block form adorned with a facade of standard red brick. The above photo encapsulates that perfectly. Will Dublin ever blossom into a city with architectural forms that are not based on red-brick rectangles? Personally, I hope so as the sad streetscape shown above is hardly going to make Dublin a world heritage city in the next 500 years.
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Re: Henrietta Street

Postby StephenC » Tue May 23, 2006 2:36 pm

That building is a travesty of good architecture and good planning. Those responsible should honestly be ashamed of themselves...

I would love to see the marketing for it though.... "Stunning new development on one of Dublöins most historic streets"
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