Re: Re: Convention centre

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Maybe this thread is more suited to the Convention Centre, given there’s quite a bit of venting on it…

Can’t say I’ve ever been a fan myself of it, and I suspect the interiors especially are going to require – or have already undergone – substantial modification from the near decade-old plan.

I managed to attend the bells-and-whistles launch of the NCC a number of weeks ago, and certainly the consortium who won the operating contract are very experienced internationally, the Birmingham ICC just one of their sites (albeit the smaller one), so it ought not to be National Aquatic Centre Round II.

The building is divided up as:

Basement: Parking and ancillary services.

Ground Floor: The Forum – the largest on-the-level exhibition space, with 3000 theatre or 2000 banqueting capacities. There’s also a vast entrance lobby here. Indeed all the floors have atrium frontage.

First Floor: The Liffey Suite – also on-the-level, this can accommodate 1800 theatre or 1100 banqueting, and also has 11 large meeting rooms and 4 boardrooms, with mezzanine.

Second Floor: The Auditorium – this is three storeys high at the very top of the building, and holds 2000 in raked theatre seating as seen here.

The whole complex is highly flexible as is to be expected, and seems to be very well adapted to creating different atmospheres too. For evening conferences the exhibition halls on the lower floors can be transformed for dining, with access to raking night-time views of the Liffey when taking a breather from the event.

However the enormous atrium appears to be little more than a Tribute to the Slab, i.e. the Jervis Centre on steriods, with vast expanses of crisp plasterboard adorning every conceivable surface, which looks decidely unimaginative. Hopefully the video renderings are just vague impressions, with lots of tweaking to be done – but thus far it’s certainly not a breathtaking interior. Perhaps the view from the balconies is the main focus of attention.

Some views of the model.

Directly attached to the rear of the centre – as seen above and below – is a proposed hotel, the operator yet to be confirmed. The proposed twisty bridge will adjoin it, running over the canal.

Some of this doesn’t seem that accurate – things have changed a little since the model was comissioned in 1947.

Incidentally, on that day I encountered two very well-known journalists – who shall remain nameless – who approached the model after sitting through the video promo, full-on explanation and presentation, and laden with enough glossy literature to line the walls of the said centre, neither with so much as a bull’s clue as to where the place was, what it was to house, who designed it, or indeed even the chequered saga of the whole proposal. Indeed the NCC rep there didn’t seem to know very much either, and it ended up with myself and another chap explaining the scheme to them. Thought it summed up quite neatly the commitment to the built environment in the Irish media. The abiding memory of the day is: “oh – so this is the Liffey then?”


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