Re: Re: Pastiche – The Final Solution?
Much of the reason why I have rarely expressed an opinion on pastiche is that there is so little of it around as properly defined, i.e. a slavish adherence to a period idiom. To paraphrase the great chas mcgreevy it really is a case of ‘horses for courses’ when selecting architectural style and most designers will never execute any pastiche works except in the case of fire insurance re-instatements and even then only in the most sensitive of locations.
I take a great pride in being young enough not to know which house in Merrion Square is the replacement after the fire in the 1970’s, it was executed perfectly by someone and rightly so, some locations should never be changed no matter what in terms of style. But I would only put a list of possibly 10 Streetscapes in Dublin where this should be an absolute rule, I would favour that some of the damage done around Mountjoy Square should be the subject of architectural competitions to redesign faithfully in the Georgian style.
I think where a lot of the fog comes into the debate is the level of arcuracy required for a building to be described as pastiche, a lot of stuff around is termed pastiche simply becuase the buildings have brick elevations with granite or imitation detailing. This is a total misdescription: this stuff is designed along these lines not because its designers want a sympathetic design but in many cases becasue it is the cheapest method of construction as second rate tradesmen can be used paid a cut price rate using cheap commodity quality materials.
My own feeling in areas where a mix of building styles exist is that where possible contemporary design should be used, but that three criteria need to be followed.
Firstly the design and material quality need to be high, bearing in mind that ‘modern buildings’ will at some stage be tired looking as fashions change and change again in and out of vogue.
Secondly that a sufficiently large frontage exists for the buildings to make a statement ie at least 6 bays in georgian scale, I think that a lot people would agree that many late victorian and edwadian buildings (high empire) are absolutely fantastic where viewed closely but can often interact very badly with each other, because each needs to attract attention as their defining characteristic.
Thirdly the buildings must respect the scale of the existing streescape at the points where they interact with it.
In reality the key to successful property development is the identification of ‘backland development opportunities’ i.e those long gardens which have little or no relevance in a compact modern city. The key in my opinion is to acheive as high a density as possible whilst respecting the streetscape that provides access and the high property value in the first place. I am interested to see what way the KPMG property will go when it is redeveloped shortly, pastiche? a nod and a wink? or a bold modern statement?