Re: Re: pearse street developments

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A fun and non-invasive use of stenciling that harks back to the buildings’ former light industrial function.

Newly cleaned and pointed granite with attractive cast-iron grille.

Many of the railings appear to be newly cast – perfect to the 1840s. A lovely eggshell sheen.

The tuck pointing is highly accomplished. One of the top three re-pointed yellow brick buildings in Dublin. Finally we know what we’re at with pointing!

The stopping mortar is the perfect earthy colour. This is all so good you wouldn’t even realise it was restored. The ultimate benchmark.

Interestingly, when the middle building was built, its brick courses could presumably only be matched to one of the two flanking houses, hence why the pointing of the right-hand house at No. 54 ties in perfectly, but is entirely different in levels at No. 51. No. 54 was also in the possession of Crowe’s at the time the infill took place.

One of the most transforming spin-offs from this restoration has been the skillful removal of render from the upper façade of No. 51 (below), which has probably been applied in the 1920s. Luckily it appears to have walked off the soft brickwork. Its removal enabled the restoration to the terrace’s unified state of J. & C. McLaughlin’s alterations of 1899. The beautiful streetscape effect we have today could not have been realised otherwise.

Of course, as seen above, this restoration comprises part of a much larger new-build extension and apparent conversion of workshops for expansive studios, library and ancillary facilities, largely divided from the Pearse Street buildings by way of an atrium. This is naturally the main focus of the development, but as we don’t have access or pictures, we can’t really say much, other than judge by the glossy photographs and descriptions on the IAA page. Very dynamic and typically HJL Corporate TM, as workspaces they seem carefully and freshly designed. The linear emphasis of the studio is lovely and sharp.

I’m not sure if all of the new mega-block on Pearse Street is part of the same development, but either way it looks to be by HJL.

The materials and some of the concepts are attractive, but the executive clothing doesn’t hide the fact that it’s too big and too busy. The anonymity of the entrance also does it no favours, while leaving matters to canvas banners to declare a presence on the street is deeply unsatisfactory. Take these transient elements of non-architecture out of the equation, or even look at the building head-on, and one is left with an expressionless block – a giant pair of sunglasses stranded on the corner that doesn’t know where it is, and people don’t know what it is to help it on its way to feck off somewhere else.

It is discernable how the character of this stretch of streetscape has now changed, where once the unified, if compromised, composition of Nos. 51-54 served as the signature building along here. By all accounts hierarchies can change, but not in such a crude manner, where scale alone takes over as an all-consuming factor, rather than design merit. It is frustrating to see such an arrogantly scaled, blob of darkness steal the limelight from a distinguished set piece that has graciously served this street for 150 years. Smaller and simpler, it could and should have been better.

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