Reply To: True Irish Architecture
Originally posted by Kelly
Irish Architecture from past cultures, and how the Irish have either absorbed it into their own culture
In a word, through parody!!
This is from an article entitled ‘Protecting our Heritage’ by Ian Lumley which appeared in the April 2002 magazine of An Taisce – The National Trust for Ireland. Hpoefully it will be of some help. Good luck with your thesis Kelly:
“One of the strangest features of Ireland’s recent economic boom is the extent of our new buildings constructed in mock-18th and 19th century styles, while so much genuine heritage of the same period continues to be destroyed.
Irish public buildings now match those of anywhere in Europe in design quality, reflecting the work of a talented range of architects. Publications, such as those by the Irish Architectural Association, and the award scheme run by the Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland, show the high quality of design work currently going into public buildings, schools and some public and social housing projects. In contrast, the prevailing architectural style of choice for most house designers is a range of mock-Georgian, mock-Victorian and mock-Edwardian styles. The first fifty years of the Irish State were marked by an effective policy of obliterating the land divisions and the architectural legacy of the Ascendancy, through the combination of the Land Commision and penal rates levels on country houses. The odd paradox is that now, almost everybody building in the countryside wants a minature Georgian country house. For houses in villages, towns and suburban estates, Tudor revival-style is widely prevalent. Also significant is English Home Counties neo-Edwardian, which is particularly popular in more “up market” developments.
This design nostalgia is accompanied by a lack of concern for environmental sustainability evidenced by the large-scale use of uPVC. This stiffened plastic material is the predominant one for doors, windows, fascias and soffits in Ireland. Its attraction is the result of a combination of aggressive marketing on the false premise of being maintenance free, competitive price and low skill required for fitting and installation. An Taisce is in liason with other environmental organisations at European level seeking the ban of uPVC as a building material because of its environmental unsustainability, its greenhouse gas-producing manufacturing process, its short performance life, its vulnerability to degradation through climatic conditions and ultra violet radiation and its lack of adaptability to repair and recyclability after end use performance which is projected at 15-20 years.
The symbol of triumph of mock-over-genuine in Ireland is the fake 19th century pub. Having been a McDonalds-type design package exported to cities all over Eurpoe in the 1990s, it has now rebounded across the country itself. While authentic 19th century pub and shop fronts continue to be destroyed, new fake creations full of the paraphernalia of nostalgia – farm implements and avery scales – proliferate around the country. This reflects both an overall lack of appreciation of the original and the failure to adopt a confident modern design idiom to match the economic boom. “