Reply To: National Photographic Archive
The stretch from Fleet St isn’t a mix of styles – this is partially my point, that the quick-fix render over most of the buildings make them look decidedly mediocre, and give the impression of the street being a complete mess. And naturally if replicas were as bad as the yokes thrown up already, they would be no point whatsoever in doing it.
Craig, ok – of course I agree that other works are important, indeed I might as well throw in the dire need for social housing and hospital beds – you know, it’s kinda not the issue here.
Of course other aspects of Westmoreland St are important, believe me I could rant on about the quality of the paving and its width, the street furniture, the trees that obscure the Venetian building Phil mentions and the sandstone Dutch Billy, the lack of formal trees on the street, the lack of definition of space, the fact the street doesn’t act as a launch-pad for O’ Cll St, the amount of surface area devoted to traffic, the public lighting, the crossing at the bridge, the crappy Ballast Office, flippin Spar and all the rubbish till the cows come home – I’m just trying to raise an issue that will never be debated and find out what people think of the idea of replica infill on the street and the subject in general.
Yes I would like to see the top lopped off the Westin – its woeful, but it’s not going to happen, the CC have no influence, let alone any power over such an issue, and wouldn’t even waste their breath on essentially asking a property owner to discard with 20% or whatever of their floor area, not least after all the messing around in the first place.
The owners and traders on the street however, most of whom presumably are members of the CCBA, would more than likely welcome any improvement to the street that would not adversely affect them.
With regard to the Venice Charter (and thanks for the info) I get the impression from the parts quoted that it’s still largely referring to ntl monuments – Newgrange being a classic example of Article 15, where in the 60s, the central section including the roofbox was reconstructed in limestone or slate as opposed to the white stone, as no evidence existed as to what it originally looked like and so the new stone is “recognisable and its use…ensure
the conservation of [the] monument and the reinstatement of its form”
If it applies to more modest buildings, then surely with regard to Leinster House – which if anything is way up there in the hierarchy of things – the OPW, on behalf of the Irish Government, is in direct contravention of the Venice Charter, as not only did their extension involve the demolition of a 19th century structure to the front of the House, not only did it involve constructing an exact replica of Castle’s Tuscan colonnade in its place, not only did it involve the building of a new-build interpreted classical blind screen wall above it, but no attempt was even made to highlight the fact that it’s not original! It’s false! It’s a mock-up! And rightly so!
Say some Bobby Molloy botch job of a single house-width office block existed slap-bang in the middle of the Georgian Mile, would it be in contravention of the Charter to rebuild a single Georgian facade over it without explicit indication of its falsehood, in a Georgian creation of 3,500 feet in length?!
And the mind boggles at the thought of the amount of historic structures all over Europe, from gate piers to royal palaces, which have had similar sympathetic alterations, and on much larger scales.
I think Georgians, more so than any other buildings require the architectural support of their neighbours, Georgian neighbours, and a limited number of replicas would contribute to the street in a manner that would allow the originals to be appreciated much better and be seen in an appropriate context, not to mention their original context, not least for the benefit of the opposite terrace – all of which are originals.
About the interiors – it’s not a wider issue than the exterior streetscape; it’s about just that – the exteriors! There is no need to extend the replica logic to inside – sure were that the case every shop in the city would be a repro!
You’re right to point out my use of ‘wrong’, but yes it is my opinion that the WSC buildings were very wrongly demolished – indeed the first phase of the EBS was entirely in violation of what was proposed, the reconstruction of an Edwardian, or late Victorian structure (a proposal in itself which shouldn’t have been allowed).
Similarly the Blood Bank building happened the same way – at a time when there was no vision for the street as an entity, something that I think still prevails today outside of the groundworks proposed by the IAP.
But to show that the CC are aware to an extent of the issue of render and paint covering the upper floors – in the IAP it is specified that work needs to be done to restore the remaining rendered buildings on D’ Olier St to their former glory, in a manner similar to the Irish Times – and the Times job included the removal of paint or render from the whole faÃ§ade of at least one of their properties, as well as paint from the window surrounds from many other of its windows.
And I’m sure that if a Brutalist lump existed in the middle of the Times terrace, the IAP would specify a faithful reproduction be built in its place, and expert guidance and incentives would be offered by the CC. And no doubt the Irish Times would be delighted at such a worthy idea and highlight the matter with great voluminosity in its pages via Himself.
I donâ€™t think itâ€™s as simple to say what happened, happened, and lets just move on.
There is potential there that should be exploited.