Re: Re: “Iconic” building proposal by VHI, Abbey Street

Home Forums Ireland "Iconic" building proposal by VHI, Abbey Street Re: Re: “Iconic” building proposal by VHI, Abbey Street


You tend to lose track of these applications when they go for AI, but it appears that this one got a fulsome thumbs-up from the Planning Dept. in the last couple of days.

I haven’t got the energy to do a full autopsy on the planner’s report, but here’s a selection of key words that perhaps give a flavour of the planning assessment:


What a pity that all this supposed creative energy was directed at joining up two miserable existing buildings that, in any other era, would have cleared off the site without a second thought. (yes I know that’s just a personal view)

If Dublin City Council had wanted to protect a Scots Presbyterian Church, the one to protect was the, 300 year old, one in Swift’s Alley off Francis Street (from the ‘How well do you Know Dublin’ thread), reportedly the first Presbyterian church in Dublin, not a suburban piece of Victoriana that had been inapproptriately inserted into the urban streetscape of Abbey Street in the first place, probably at the expense of a couple of decent houses.

One phrase though from the Planner’s Report, just has to be posted:

‘The Planning Department does not however concur with the implicit pejorative design appraisal of the City Conservation Officer that ”In urban design terms – the distorted design concept of the proposed building is neither harmonious nor complementary to it’s context . . ”

In fairness to the Planner’s Report, it goes on to assert a reasonably coherent alternative view that:

The asseptability of the proposal is actually dependent upon, not weakened by, it’s innovative and dramatic design concept. The glazed pattern and overall form are critical inherent design objectives designed to create a deliberate discordant – but positive – relationship with the existing eclectic group of buildings currently found on lower Abbey Street.’

Btw, the report also put great stock in the value of retaining the presence of the VHI in the North inner city and put this forward as a part of the justification for the favourable planning decision. That’s the same argument that was used to justify the Clarence!

In general, I’m more convinced than ever that we’re in one of those dreadful transitional architectural phases, that you see throughout history, where we have the ambition to design contemporary bits and stick them onto existing buildings, but not the confidence to either leave them alone or replace them with better buildings of our own.

Latest News