Re: Re: Clerys

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Anonymous
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Look who are peeking out above the window display stud walls at Clerys 🙂

They are of course the leaded top lights of the original panelled timber backdrops of the display windows. Most of these still survive according to the conservation report compiled for their recent planning application, however some have also been hacked about a bit over the years.

Their planning application was recently granted, subject to very tight conservation conditions. The intention is to completely open up the windows immediately flanking either side the main entrance with views of the store by removing the current back walls, and the same treatment given to the windows at the furthest extremities of the ground floor, essentially opening up the interior to the street. The very central windows at either side will be retained as display windows, where the 1922 screens at these points will be retained in situ, however they will also remain encased in modern cladding. The screens or remnants of screens, to each side, will be removed entirely to open up the vistas, as depicted below.

I think it’s a great pity that the screens being retained aren’t going to be exposed or otherwise utilised in this reordering, especially given the very limited amount of display space there will actually be upon completion. Unfortunately O’Connell Street and so much of the city centre in general is defined by humdrum UK high street design – it also has very limited traditional shopfront fabric remaining. As such, to have an original element of early 20th century commercial architecture exposed as part of the wider historic Clerys streetscape would act as a significant reinforcing boost to the 1920s character of O’Connell Street that has been so eroded over the past 20 years.

Of course it has to be acknowledged that shopfront and display design are critical factors in modern retailing, but there’s no reason why freestanding displays against the traditional backdrop cannot be suitably creative and striking in their own right. Indeed up to this point Clerys have often demonstrated a very good eye in their window displays.

Douglas Wallace are drawing up this project, they also being the architects that worked on the impressive restoration of the building over the past eight years or so. The proposals for replacing the reproduction entrance doors with a sheer expanse of glazing works better in reality that it may sound – what they have proposed is certainly better than the disjointed mess of elements comprising the main entrance at present.


© Douglas Wallace Architects

Is it just me, or is there a faintly 1920s-30s thing going on here? 🙂 A very elegant drawing.

On paper it looks impressive, particularly if the sparkily spotlights come to fruition. A grandiose 1920s central mall chandelier along the lines of Marks and Spencers’ magnificent specimen on Grafton Street would also do wonders with views from the street.

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