Re: Re: Liberty Hall redevelopment
A most unfortunate decision and one that should rightly tumble at the feet of An Bord Pleanála. Notwithstanding Liberty Hall’s architectural heritage value, this area of the city centre is not designated for high rise, and it is difficult to see how the Board can grant an application that facilitates the ad hoc redevelopment of tall buildings, especially somewhere as sensitive as the quays, never mind that the very foundations of Dublin high rise policy are based on Local Area Plans being drafted.
The problem in all of this, however, is a discreet provision that was deftly slipped into the Development Plan process in order to facilitate Siptu – indeed, the only one-off deviation from high rise policy in the document. The provision cynically attaches significance to the Liberty Hall site, not the building. How this exceptionally subjective angle on such a critically important building in the city made its way into the Plan without apparent notice by anybody is disquieting.
“In recognition of the national, social and cultural importance of the Liberty Hall site, the height limitations set out in the development plan may be set aside or relaxed in considering a proposal for the redevelopment of the site which will provide for the continuation of its national, historic, social and cultural status. Any such proposal will be considered against the relevant standards set out at Section 17.6.3”.
Alas, this is a problematic statement in any planning argument for retaining the building. In effect, the Board can only rely on the building’s architectural heritage value to overturn this decision.
The amenity value of the uppermost floors in the proposed new building are an undeniable asset, but one that can be accommodated in considerable style in the existing building. I think the proposed design is distinctly mediocre. Marian Finucane’s typically bland assertions on design quality this morning, comparing it to the same architects’ Croke Park, are surely a reason not to even consider it. It is not deserving of pride of place as Dublin’s signature tall building, never mind the tragic loss of a rare 1960s icon.
The planner’s report is not yet available online. It will make for interesting reading.
Actually, I am inclined to agree with you. I feel Liberty Hall (in its original incarnation before the 1972 bomb) was one of our finest pieces of post-war architecture. I feel it gets a bad rap based on the fact that it is the tallest and most identifiable building from a period of architectural dross. In short, its frequently blamed for the sins of Hawkins House, O’Connell Bridge House, College House, Telephone House, Apollo House etc. Furthermore, it is often cited as an example of what destroyed Georgian Dublin, when in fact that was overwhelmingly the myriad of 3/5 floor georgian pastiche low-rise crap!
However, the rub is that those now opposing reconstruction of Liberty Hall due to the historic nature and architecturally sensitive location of its site were by and large the same people who used hell fire and brimstone to prevent a highrise district in the docklands! Something which would have soaked up demand and negated most of the need to build in the more historic parts of the City. They can’t have it both ways but thats what they want!
Consequently, having seen building after building fanatically rejected purely on the grounds of height rather then architectural merit, using every disengenuous NIMBY arguement in the book , many reasonable (probably myself included) have become ever more exaperated and no just want a highrise building if only to explode this stupid myth that highrises are universally bad!