Re: Re: ‘Dutch Billys’

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@Devin wrote:

. . . . . while certainly there’s evidence of coherence in places . . . . . bunches of small-scale triangular-gabled houses and drainpipes running accross elevations in ‘front room’ locations such as College Green does not give reassurance.

This is where I wonder sometimes if we’re looking at the same pictures.

If we take the Joseph Tudor view of College Green and excluding the houses in the far distance down Dame Street, I’m counting twelve small, three-storey, triangular gabled houses probably belonging to the second half of the 17th century, eight definite four-storey ‘Dutch Billys’, one fine four-storey stepped gabled house annd two houses with flat parapet, at least one of which looks like an altered ‘Billy’.

How is that not a ”coherent gabled streetscape”?

@Devin wrote:

When I say “We never had a Lubeck or an Amsterdam here” I’m referring to the ‘seriousness’ of the gable architecture rather than to comparability with their periods of prosperity or form.

Architecture-follows-prosperity as form-follows-function, or is supposed to. My point was that, given the divergent states of prosperity between Ireland and Holland in the 17th century, comparing the gabled townscape of Dublin to that of Amsterdam, is asking a bit much. That imbalance evened up slightly in the 18th century, but the legacy from the 17th century is still there in the opposing townscapes making direct comparisons difficult. From a scale point of view, I think Haarlem would probably make a better comparison, but again you have to factor-in the huge imbalance in prosperous merchant housing dating from the boom years of the 17th century, a boom that we didn’t have.


some Haarlem streetscapes dominated by prosperous 17th century merchant houses, mostly stepped gables, but with new curvilinear ‘neck’ gabled appearing also.

@Devin wrote:

Yeah, I would describe Amsterdam’s ‘open air museum’ of the 17th century as a very coherent townscape.

OK, we can settle this. If you believe that say College Green did not present a ‘coherent gabled streetscape’ and you imply that Amsterdam is full of ‘Coherent gabled streetscapes’ why not toss out some random street numbers on any of the four great circular Amsterdam canals, ‘Singel’ nos. 1 – 450, or ‘Herrengracht’ nos. 1 – 625, or ‘Keizersgracht’ nos. 1 – 810, or ‘Prinsengracht’ nos. 1 – 1131, I’ve got a book here and I’ll post up the street elevations of the sections you pick . . . . . and then [with an eye for coherence] we’ll compare. 🙂

@Devin wrote:

. . . . you wouldn’t really want to go reconstructing gabled houses / gables in Dublin, would you? Whenever it’s done it just looks toytown-ish – eg. the Bailey pub or 66 Capel Street. We have an 18th century Rennaissance city – let’s deal with it!

Yes, the attempts to date at ‘Billy’ conservation/restoration are not a pretty picture, you get no argument there from me.

I would not attempt to reverse a Georgianized ‘Billy’, I’ve made that abundantly clear time and again. ‘Billys’ being Georgianized is part of the story of the street archhitecture of Dublin, I’d put an information panel on them, telling the rest of the story, but I would absolutely not hack off their parapets and re-make their gables. Did I not make that clear in the extensive discussion we had last year on 42 Manor Street?

Brutally altered or truncated ‘Billys’ like 10 Mill Street, or Mr. Siev’s house on Aungier Street, or the two former gabled houses at 20 + 21 Thomas Street, these are in a different category, these are candidates for restoration in my opinion, Amsterdam style restoration!


before, during, and after views of the three houses on Lindengracht restored in the 1970s.

If you stopped someone in the street and asked them about the architectural heritage of Dublin, they’d know there was some low grade medieval stuff and they’d moan about the modern stuff but everything else would be Georgian this and Georgian that, there is no consciousness of our achievements in gabled street-architecture. What’s so wrong about trying to put the record straight?

@Devin wrote:

You do welcome disagreement, don’t you? Otherwise we would just get ‘the gunter view’ on Dublin’s gabled tradition. And that wouldn’t do, would it? 😉

I don’t understand the question

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