Re: Re: ‘Dutch Billys’

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@Devin wrote:

Nos. 23 and 24 are still there – converted into the Arlington Hotel.

OK, I didn’t know that, I thought the the Arlington was a complete rebuild, in mock-up.

Can we just get this straight, once and for all.

We don’t know definitively that 27 Bachelors Walk was a hybrid twin-gabled Billy, we can’t know that definitively . . . . not until a crystal clear, two hundred and fifty year old, elevation drawing drops out of a dusty folio with ‘no. 27 Bachelor’s Walk’ written on it, at which point I will definitely post it on archiseek, before going off to get a stiff drink.

All we can do, if we’re really interested in telling the story of the Dutch Billy phenomenon, is explore the typologies, evaluate suspect cases from the evidence available and gradually build up a classification that includes not just the well documented primary types, but also the numerous variations, the hybrids and the quirky oddballs that together make up this extraordinary, woefully under-appreciated, and uniquely Irish, building tradition.

Maybe you’re right and the curious twin roofs on the front half of no. 27 Bachelors walk have no particular significance.

Maybe the location of a twin-roofed structure at no. 27, within an early 18th century streetscape that includes at least four other examples of twin roof structures on top of early 18th century houses, is just a pure coincidence.

Maybe this is just an example of a characteristic double-pile lateral Georgian roof accidentally put the wrong way round by some dyslexic builder . . . ‘later in the 18th century’.

Maybe there isn’t really any such thing as the bleeding obvious.

Gabled architecture, by definition, inextricably links elevation design to roof layout, that’s what a gable is, it’s the interface of a wall with a roof structure. Unlike Georgian architecture, which employed a largely detached relationship between the street elevation and the roof structure [with the latter having little or no role in the architectural intentions], the patterns of gabled architecture within the Dutch Billy tradition are completely wedded to the patterns of roof construction, which fortunately survived a lot longer than the ornamental gables did.

It is abundantly obvious that the Dutch Billy tradition included houses that incorporated smaller gables grouped in paired and sometimes triple compositions, we know this from a small number of recorded examples [which I’ve posted time and again] and we know it from an observation of roof patterns. The roof patterns don’t lie and they’re not accidental. Of course there will be examples that defy explanation, or which give rise to misleading interpretation, but to deny that the majority of recorded twin roofed structures, occurring as they do invariably on early 18th century houses with ‘Billy’ characteristics, in ‘Billy’ contexts, goes way beyond slow learning and at this stage is bordering on special needs.

I do accept that there were a small number of twin roofed structures in Dublin which were probably not originally gable fronted, but instead appear to belong to the transitional phase between the two 18th century traditions. I don’t have a problem with that, it makes sense if the twin-gabled tradition was as strong in Dublin as the roof pattern evidence suggests that there would have been a hangover of that roof construction method in the transitional phase, just as we know that there was in the case of standard ‘Billy’ roof construction.

No. 27 Bachelor’s Walk could conceivably be an example of this ‘transitional’ type of twin-roof construction, but I would doubt it primarily because of the shallowness of the pitch which suggests a 19th century date, not the mid-to-late 18th century date that would be consistent with the transitional period, and the rational for a 19th century date would most likely be the modernization of an out-dated feature [such as the removal of pedimented gables], although it could also be the simple renewal of a transitional-period twin roof . . . . I s’pose.

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