Re: Re: National Gallery Extension
Well this is just a note to say ‘the National Gallery House’ as it’s generally become known has finally been unwrapped after years of apparent scrabbling for funds and various delays. Arthur Gibney & Partners, who were appointed as architects to the project years ago now, have pulled off the conservation job with trademark panache.
The building is to serve as the new administrative HQ of the National Gallery of Ireland.
Thankfully Gibneys know better than to get sucked into this current trend for returning Victorian sheet sashes to original Georgian specification (though of course merited in the right circumstances). In this case all Victorian additions, as cumbersome as some may be, have been respectfully preserved. Indeed it’s so much more interesting to observe the panels on the internal shutters revealing all in conforming to the original Georgian glazing pattern, than a batch of repro windows pretending to be something they’re not. Thus the fabric has been retained, and the pernickity conservationist/scholar can rest assured on provenance, basking in the warm glow of smug self-assuredness 😉
You can’t nail your colours to the mast like that and not expect people to take pot shots.
I grant you that the Victorians did some great buildings (although not too many in this country), but why did they have to go round tarting up other peoples buildings?
The whole design philosophy behind these Georgian houses was their strict severity, enlivened only by finely detailed doorcases and the elegant proportions of their windows, further articulated by their obsessive refinement of their glazing bars.
For the National Gallery to ‘conserve’ a Victorian tart up version of the upper facade of this house, complete with plate glass windows and frilly strapwork quoine icing detail, and then install a dubious ‘Georgian’ rusticated render ground floor treatment in place of the Victoria’, fully glazed, shop front and generous granite step at street level, is a gutless fudge IMO.
If you’re going to restore the Georgian facade, restore the Georgian facade, don’t nearly restore it and leave it half restored and half disfigured by retaining half the Victorian alterations!
I don’t know where they got those railings, they look like something Trinity had left over from knocking down something on Westland Row.