Re: Re: Heuston framework plan

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The development, as now being constructed, is about twice the scale that was originally permitted, which would make it maybe 3, or 4 times the scale of the development envisaged in the original Heuston Framework Plan. That’s the context in which I think the guidlines in that plan need to be urgently reviewed before they become cast in concrete.

The tiny cupola on the Royal Infirmary may be a delightful little feature, but I think it’s time to question whether it constitutes strong enough a focal point to dictate the building line half a mile away, when there are much more immediate and, in my view, important relationships to be considered.

The cupola would still be visible from the formal terrace, just not from the extreme eastern end of it. The vista to the Wellington monument is direct and safe, though I have a suggestion in this direction that I need to do a bit more work on and I’ll post it up in due course. The vista to the Magazine Fort is about to vanish behind the Clany Barracks development.

In general I’m in favour of the whole new urban quarter at HSQ and when it’s augmented by the Heuston Gate development (32 storey tower) on the east side of Military Road, and then linked up with the redevelopment of the Guinness lands, it will bring the city centre to the doorstep of Kilmainham for the first time. That’s all great, on one level, but there is no excuse that the interface with the Royal Hospital has to be the weakest element of the whole scheme!

I think the developers are taking the easy option here, they’re running with the Infirmary vista because it doesn’t cost them too much in site area, while at the same time, they’ve quietly dropped the original low key frontage at blocks 6A & 6B because they know that any slight design contribution that these blocks may have made, in presenting a modestly scaled frontage to the gardens, has been rendered meaningless by the growing scale of the amended development behind.

In my view, this unbuilt end of the HSQ development needs to be radically re-examined and not just in the context of the direct relationship with the formal gardens and the Royal Hospital itself, it needs to be examined in the context of an overall planning vision for Kilmainham and the role that the RHK grounds will have to play if the disconnected urban nodes at HSQ, Clancy Barracks, Islandbridge and what remains of Old Kilmainham itself, are ever to moulded into a coherently planned district, exploiting it’s abundant natural and man made attributes and legibly connected to it’s long and rich heritage.

It’s a bit of an indictment that the last time Kilmainham was a lgible coherent district, it was the 1530s, before Henry VIII desolved the monastries! We’ve had more than our fair share of major public buildings since then and plenty of major infrastructural projects, but no comprehensive planning, no overall vision. Now would be a good time to put that right.

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