Reply To: National Photographic Archive
Whether you prefer a building that is architecturally honest is a matter of taste. The problem I would have with simply sticking a ‘ye olde’ Georgian faÃ§ade on a building like the EBS is that thatâ€™s all it would be. Like the replicas on the corner of Baggot St. and Stephen’s Green; where you look inside and you can see the suspended ceilings. The only part replicated is the facade, but even here they lack the imperfections and distortions due to settlement etc.
I think buildings should be judged on their individual merits; if people in Dublin complained that a building like the EBS made Westmoreland Street feel abysmal, then by all means replace it. But I don’t get why it should be replaced with a building from a particular era of our architectural past. This is too subjective i.e. if you want to build something that looks ‘old’ you could argue that a medieval timber clad building has as much validity as does a Victorian, Georgian etc.
I’m no major fan of the EBS buildings but they ‘fit in’ in to the streetscape on several levels i.e. scale & following building line. Cities are constantly changing, and I like the fact that when walking around Dublin you can observe in the streetscape the impact that each generation had on the place. As has been said already the problem is quality of construction; I’d be doubtful of the chances of a Georgian building being replicated fatefully. It would also run in to building reg. problems, if you’re to replicate the flight of steps to the entrance you’ll have problems with disabled access etc. as well as requirements for elevators etc.
An alternative to replicas is a considered response to the site, context etc such as the office building next to the mansion house by Shay Cleary.