Re: Re: Heuston framework plan
Well I actually agree completely, gunter. I believe that the thinking which views this mess as being more respectful to the formal gardens simply because the building heights have been lowered a bit at the perimeter of the site is misguided to say the least.
It would be far preferable to reinforce the garden’s boundary instead of completely disregarding it which is what has been done here by effectively introducing a new visual boundary; i.e. the broken hodge-podge of angles, heights, styles and materials which comprise the faces of the buildings immediately visible from the gardens. I would have had no objection to a terrace of 10 or 12 storied buildings a little behind and properly aligned with the existing wall reinforcing the garden’s edge. In fact, this would have been far superior by respecting the boundaries of the formal garden and the lines its layout establishes. I imagine ‘though that the knee-jerk reaction against such a proposal would have been very strong.
I think even among some of the well-meaning planners and critics, there is a subconscious belief that height is the most important characteristic of a building. An idea which ironically they share with the most purile of the skyscrapesexuals in this forum who constantly bemoan the lack of appropriate masturbatory material in Dublin. Height is always the first feature mentioned: materials, orientation, positioning, etc. are seemingly secondary. On this site, I believe it is the positioning and orientation which should have been the most important issues if they wished to “respect” the formal garden which is all about 2d geometry and not height.
Imagine the gardens of Merrion Square for example without the brooding wall of georgians visible behind the perimeter; would it be better to have dotted bungalows and two storied buildings at various angles where the existing terraces are and have four story buildings poking up behind the “respectful” stunted buildings visible directly from within the park? Admittedly, I’m reaching a bit here but on a grander scale, Central Park on Manhattan shows that parks and formal gardens are not necessarily compromised by nearby tall buildings assuming the positioning is regular; the effect is the opposite in fact by offering contrast.
The original proposal wasn’t offensive to me because of its scale – it’s not like there is existing built urban grain and scale that it would compromise (it would be highly offensive sighted – let’s say – on Thomas Street) – or because of the fact that the developers were trying to maximise the floorspace (I am not motivated by a dislike of what others perceive to be greed) but because it, along with the rest of the “ensemble” completely destroys the visual geometric regularity created by the formal gardens.