Re: Re: Dublin skyline

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You make some interesting points and have obviosuly given the concept of a liveable city some thought. I probably wouldn’t agree with some of the ideas you express, but it seems that you rank the liveability factor of a city higher than the architectural styles that might comprise the ‘image’ of that city. That is fair enough. I have to admit though, that I find some gaps in your argument. You say that if the size of a building belittles or negatively impacts upon an individual, then it is undesireable (e.g. La Defense). Many have argued (since the early nineteenth century), however, that the size of a structure can in itself be a source of inspiration – a physical embodiment of wo/man’s technological, scientific, and cultural prowess. This was very much an element of nineteenth century British architectural theory in which buildings were considered a physical manaifestation of man’s prowess during the Romantic period. More modern day examples would be the former Twin Towers in New York, the Sydney Opera House, the Pentagon, and so on. In short, immensity was often considered to be soul-lifting and therefore desireable. To my understanding, this remains one of the primary attractions that we have towards immense physical structures – whether they be bridges, ships, buildings, and so on. The very fact that so many contributors to this thread have shown a strong desire to have Dublin adorned with 40 – 60 storey buildings suggests that there is some desire within us to build big. Call that desire what you like, but it appears to exist (ask anyone on the balcony of the Empire State building what has dragged them up there). If this is an innate human desire and buidling big is an expression of that desire, then it is a justifiable expression of being human. Why she would suppress it. Nineteenth century literature is full of examples of people celebrating the awe of man’s built environment, particularly so in London. Indeed, you mentioned that the concept of the skyline comes from America – most probably not. Londoners have been climbing to the top of St. Pauls since it was built so as to peer out from what was then one of the highest buildings in London over the rooftops of the city. Virtually ever great cultural commentator who has written on London has mentioned the experience (from Joseph Addison to Dickens). The concept and grandeur of the cityscape have always being topics of intense human interest, that is why I would argue that big buildings are a legitimate expression of what it is to be human. They may overpower, they may depress, but they are an integral element of the human experience. To stifle that form of expression may lead to cosier cities, but it will also stifle a human desire that has been with us since the Pyramids and Newgrange.

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