Re: Re: landscape design lecture (tues)
Wood Quay Presentation.
So did people retire to the golf clubs, and back gardens in Surburbia for a couple of decades, and now are folks just been drawn back in various ways, into the central public domains?
Good talk, some quite interesting, calm, collected reflections upon what is actually an enormous discussion topic, and area of study. An area with a huge history too, Michael M., was talking about things in the 1600s, as if it were only yesterday. It struck me strongly, how landscape design, perception and approach continues to evolve to this day, and will do so into the future. I wish someone had plucked up the courage to ask about the prospects of making a pedestrian diagonal through St. Stephen’s Green,…. 🙂 In a different time, this may not seem so outrageous. Perhaps even with car parking underneath, at a cost of 25,000 Euro per space! 🙂 Dunno, dunno,… maybe it could work? The more ambitious entries in the Carlisle Pier Competition in Dun Laoghaire, didn’t waste the opportunity to at least, look down this avenue either – the Libeskind entry in particular, I recall, was strong on the notion of a plinth containing loads of carparking.
But in the meantime, I would like to point out some simple examples of ‘intensity of usage’, and poly-directional-ism, in design of space. I would wish to point everyones’ attention in the direction, of what was once, the ‘Kylemore’ cafe on the first floor, in St. Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre… basically, because it highlights the point about ‘intensity of use’, that need, in any modern public domain. It has been transformed from a sort, mono-directional pipeline catering industry approach, with a cash register ‘gate’ at one end, and a double door at the other,… into some kind of ‘poly-direction’ mingling area, where you just wander around this food court, through all these free-standing ‘Tschumi inspired Follies’, being directed mainly by your stomach, colours, senses, as opposed to any really pre-designated route. But it has worked, it has got the place, once ignored suddenly packed to the rafters… This, I think is where the old Bewley’s system fell down altogether, because they attempted to force people through narrow passages, in some kind of old-fashioned ordered passage way.
That old Kylemore cafe was basically a space, was one the food and catering industry had forgotten, written off, for a long while, but today has been radically turned around from an economic and general crowd activity/usage point of view. The Introduction, to this talk tonight, spoke of how Temple Bar, ‘front loaded’ its new galleries, restaurants and other ‘Land Uses’, with re-definition of the public space. I mean, this synergy between service industry type ‘intensity of usage’, and a huge space like O’Connell Street may also congeal together in the near future. Even in Cinema design, you don’t go through a logical A, B, C, D, route anymore, but rather you can spend a hour in the bar, or just wandering around aimlessly if you want. Funny how commerce, picks up on these tendancies of crowds, a while before urban planners often do. I was watching Team Amercia: World Police, at UCG in Parnell Street recently, definitely a movie for over 18s, if ever there was one. But something really highlighted for me, the absolute relaxation of crowd control. Right in the middle of that said movie, two young male kids of approx. 12 years of age each, walked straight in, calm as a cucumber, holding shakes and pop corn, and just sat down! So I guess the mingling principle isn’t entirely appropriate in every circumstances. I dunno, I did not feel comfortable sharing an over-18s movie showing with two 12 year olds, but noone in the cinema attempted to do anything about it. Am I being old fashioned?
I dunno, while I applaude the opening up of city centre locations etc, etc, with public space, I feel there is a strong underlying commercial impulse behind it, which often ends up exploiting the youngest and most vunerable segments of our populations. The Commercial industries on the other hand, know this well, and are deadly is targeting the kids, upon whom more and more spare wealth is being lavished. Whether it be, 100 Euro Sneakers, or over-18’s movies, for 12 year olds. I mean, were those backgardens in Surburbia really that awful for kids, or were they just more boring?
Brian O’ Hanlon.