Re: Re: ‘Dutch Billys’

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A stunning townscape, Stephen. Its an interesting footnote that Lord Clancarty, dispossessed owner of that great Dutch gabled 1670s house on College Green discussed earlier, ended up in exile in a small town on the outskirts of Hamburg . . . . it would be nice to think that the familiarity of the local street-architecture may have given him some comfort.

That merchant house tradition, particularly in the Hanseatic cities where grandeur was always tempered with an underlying sobriety, is a absolute high point in the history of urbanism, no question.

Even where the individual merchant houses may display a slightly gawky provincialism, they still effortlessly demonstrate the value of working within an evolving tradition, as opposed to the highhanded rejection of tradition in the quest for something new.

an extract of Speed’s map of Limerick [1610] showing gable fronted merchant houses on Mary Street

Imagine if we’d persevered with the tradition of the merchant house, which we also shared, today the likes of our local Londis and Centra premises might compete with each other for trade on the basis of the quality of their architecture and not just the square-footage of their illuminated signs.

a section of the W.S.C. elevation to D’Olier Street

The Wide Street Commissioners must take some of the heat for killing the tradition of individualism in street-architecture with their Neo-Classical disdain for commerce . . . .

some urban in-fill advice from a 1975 RIAI publication; ‘Dublin, a city in Crisis’

but it was the good old Modern Movement, with its disdain for the street, that probably did the real damage, and some would say is still doing it.

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