Re: Re: Fair Play to Starbucks

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Howley Harrington’s revised Temple Bar plan included mention of Foster Place. As far as I remember, there was talk of opening it up to plug into the rest of TB, but just how this would be achieved is unclear to me. All of the buildings are of merit and part of the charm of FP is its enclosed nature- I’d be cautious about any measure that diluted this characteristic.

Interesting observations there indeed, …plugging into Temple Bar, now there is a thought indeed. Long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away before the abomination of private greed that turned out to be Temple Bar, people imagined Temple Bar would be this pristine and other-worldly location, where people would not behave like people, but like some breed of cosmopolitan, urban-aware, sophisticated social animal. The truth turned out to be very different, and now we are all wiser, and understand what ‘plugging into Temple Bar’ would actually entail. I mean look at Grafton Street, black with people all day long. A real pity how Grafton Street was raped with people. If you were to link Foster’s Place with Temple Bar, no doubt, Foster’s Place would be raped too.

This little gem of a street should not be connected to TB. The fact it’s a cul de sac is part of its charm.

Similarly, well said. We should try to mention here, the behaviour around the Central Bank, and its use as some kind of teenage hang-out area. Usually, I associate that behaviour with a teenage pop concert or rock festival. But in front of the Central Bank, it appears you can have the same behaviour without any concert at all. Maybe we should think about teenagers, and their need to gather and be in one big open air space, in the way we design and build new parts of the city. It seems at a certain age, these young just need to get together and interact a whole pile, in ways, that cannot be accomodated through the use of nightclub, and other quite large interior spaces.

No doubt at all, if Fosters Place became a linking space, it would become ‘owned’ by some other tribe or sub-culture. It would be like exchanging the taxi-drivers for some other monopoly of use. I cannot understand it, but the behaviour of teenagers screaming and shouting in front of Central Bank has escalated a lot since the hoarings went up around there. It is quite an interesting study in adolescent human behaviour. It wasn’t as bad when the skateboarders owned that space. I suspect strongly too, that the teenagers from the old O’Connell Street, have adopted Dame Street, in front of Central Bank, as their new abode.

The Wesrmoreland St/College Green redevelopment will be very interesting. I really hope Luas line A is chosen and private motor vehicles are excorcised from this axis, along with O’Connell St/Bridge. The whole area would make a magnificent pedestrian plaza with Foster Place being a little shaded haen in the summer and a cosy enclosed space in winter, imagine those trees outside the ex AIB building as a bar/restaurant all decorated in twinkly xmas lights, lovely.

I am all for keeping car access to Foster’s place. They manage to do it in many of the best European cities. But there seems to be something about ‘how’ the taxi driving occupation evolved in Dublin city, and similarly the bus transportation system evolved, that seems to be about dragging places down. Making them into the lowest common denominator – for some strange reason, people who drive vehicles around our cities seem to have pure contempt for their urban environment. You can see this similarly in suburban villages and areas, where if there is a video store or laundrette alongside a road, it is free-for-all for anyone in a mini-van with two kids to use the footpath as a parking lot. I understand the climate is bad, peoples’ lives are hectic and keeping kids in your sight is paramount. But something tells me there is more to peoples behaviour and lack of respect for urban places, when they are sitting behind the wheel of a n automobile.

You can already see the pressure that Habitat is having on the pavement outside as more people fight for a limited space. And plans are afoot to open a second store in the EBS premises beside Habitat.

The very worst these days, for my money, is the bottom of Grafton Street pedestrian route, with a busy bus route intersecting right over it going up to Suffolk Street. Using places like Dame Street and Suffolk Street, as bus stops, in the way we do, is not working very well. Just to complicate matters then,… and most of this was true of O’Connell Street in the bad old days,… was the taxi ranks getting ‘stuck’ in there aswell. In case, traffic plus pedestrians wasn’t hard enough to do,… you throw in bus stops and taxi ranks, and you really do have the chaos and mess that is, and has always been my experience of Dublin city center. I mean, at the bottom of Grafton Street, Fosters place, the middle of College Green and O’Connell Street in the olden days, were all taxi and bus parks, nothing else really. This is what you get when you form your whole ‘thinking’ around the internal combustion engine. If all you have is a hammer, then every problem becomes a nail.

I don’t think Foster Place should be linked into Temple Bar whatsoever – it’s a charming little street, why spoil it by linking it into our “British Stag Night containment unit”. Trtust me the malignancy of chain restaurants and theme bars would soon creep in. The old AIB would make a fantastic high end restaurant, but it wouldn’t take off if it was tarred with the Temple Bar brush

All very true, sad, but true. As I mention above, when we were all looking at the Temple Bar concept, when it was still just a concept in the mid 1990s, we were all still very, very naive. We considered that in Temple Bar, people would somehow behave better than you normally expect them to. That has not proven the case, and a lot of very trendy architects, who won awards in Temple Bar for their design – protested afterwards, about the facts, of how badly people can behave! As if people should behave better, just to preserve the dignity of the lovely ‘designed’ environment they are in. What I mean, is that in the early days of the Temple Bar framework stage, everyone looked at Temple Bar as some benign, inner urban development, which did not need any containment. People were suddenly, going to become so well behaved, they would naturally ‘respect’ their environment and surroundings. And all the Architects could build more Temple Bar areas, and win themselves more awards from the AAI.

I was watching the movie ‘Doom’ last night, and found it funny, to notice the same issue there. The containment of creatures, with 24 chromosomes, who tried to break out of containment on Mars and come down to Earth via a space travelling machine. It would be a shame, if the 24 chromosome creatures in Temple Bar were to break through into Foster’s Place and infect everyone else with the same genetic mods. Nice point about the stone setts too btw. I will tell you, I give this one to the planning brains here. I didn’t see the potential destruction of Foster’s place, via linking it to Temple Bar etc, etc. I think the sensibilities of a planner, here, have proven to be more effective than those of an architect. In Temple Bar, the sensibilities of architects alone, were proven insufficient. This is a good place to mention, that Temple Bar, as an artistic and cultural quarter, (I know, don’t laugh) was an idea that came from cities like Paris in the 1980s. That ‘concept’ was championed by Charles Haughey, then Taoiseach.

Brian O’ Hanlon.

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