Re: Re: ‘Dutch Billys’

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@Devin wrote:

Yeah its scale is appropriate to its location. It’s not suitable for a Coombe Bypass-style apartment block, which is what they want to replace it with.

This is the dilemma that the planning system is struggling with at the moment.

We know that Dublin is failing the density test and has been since the process of slum clearance, to solve a different problem, created the sprawling, traffic choked, city we have now. Everyone is agreed that densification is the solution, but that prescription is being interpreted by developers as a licence to replace the existing street scale with a much higher street scale and, in the absence of a clear directive from the planning authorities, they’re doing it the only way they know how, which is randomly, piecemeal, opportunistically using corner sites as bridgeheads.

We must have seen fifty examples in the last six months. Here’s the one for the corner site on New Row South / Blackpitts that was previously the location of the famous ‘Dutch Billy’ pair known locally as the ‘Seven Gables’ (posted earlier)

The proposal is for a ten storey composite curved apartment block, justified presumably on the basis that it is a ‘corner site’ and it delivers ‘densification’ and the developers had to work around retaining a ‘Protected Structure’ elsewhere on the site.

My view on this, as expressed on other threads, is that this is an established streetscape, now approximately 300years old, that has fallen on hard times and what is required here is urban mending, not the introduction of a mega-block that ignores the established scale of the streetscape. There is an argument for height on the site, as there is for a vista capturing element given the potential for exploiting the view down Ward’s Hill from Newmarket, but these elements, to be justifiable, have to respect the scale of the streetscape first and foremost.

It the easy way out to say that the Zoe apartments opposite are low quality shoe boxes that have little design merit and they shouldn’t enter any discussion on the shape and form of the redevelopment on the current site, but, as johnglas has pointed out, these buildings and the ‘Tenters Pub’ on the Mill St. corner are the streetscape reference point and they effectively reproduce the scale, if not the astonishing heritage and detail of the original gabled houses from the period when these streets were first laid out.

Repairing streetscapes and delivering densification are not mutually exclusive objectives, but I think that we need to develop design and planning approaches that are much more sensitive and imaginative, if we’re not to loose what little character we have left and replace it with little more than the gap toothed, imbalanced, cityscape that we would have had anyway, if there was no planning control system in place at all and redevelopment was happening, restricted only by the means available to the owner and the fashion of the day.

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